Author's Notes: My entry to the 'Offscreen Moments Contest' in Eglantine House on Livejournal. Why? Because I love Melisande, and I wondered what her interaction with Isidore were like.
Melisande stepped lightly as she entered the courtyard, her footsteps barely whispering on the flagstones. In the middle the lawn, Isidore was practicing his swordplay. She watched with an indulgent smile as he moved swiftly and smoothly, thrown back to the Longest Night when he had worn the mask of a Jaguarondi. He was almost perfect, she thought; nearly worthy of being her consort. But no matter. He would serve well enough.
He had known she was there, of course, He was a warrior, and always aware of his surroundings. But he also knew who had been watching him, and that she posed no threat at the moment. Only after he had ended his exercise did he turn to her, sword still unsheathed in his hand.
"Melisande", he said simply in greeting, not feeling the need for more when they were alone.
"What is it?"
"Is it beyond belief that I simply wished to watch my foster-cousin practicing his swordplay, and wanted to admire his skill and beauty?" she asked, lowering her eyes and voice, injecting huskiness into it.
He laughed. "If it is beyond belief, it is because that cannot have been your sole purpose", was his blunt answer. Melisande smiled; she had chosen correctly, for he was astute.
"It is time", she finally answered his question. "A week after his birthday, we shall spring our trap."
He lifted an eyebrow. "Indeed? Why now?"
"There is nothing more to be gained from him", she answered bluntly, abandoning her usual habits of subtlety. "Lyonette is no lioness; she's become a hyena, crushing him in her jaws, not letting go. Waldemar will not long countenance Baudoin's exploits. And you need to consolidate your power if we wish to be ready when Waldemar invades."
He considered for a moment, then nodded. "Do you know, we are an odd pair? A Camaeline who thinks as a Sharizai, and a Shahrizai who is as skilled a strategist as a Camaeline?"
Melisande smiled. "The moon is both light and dark depending on the time of the month, is it not?"
Isidore lifted his sword in a salute, acknowledging the hit. "Which am I, then?" he murmured, drawing close to Melisande so that his breath touched her face.
Her hair lay on her shoulders like a dark veil, and mixed with his silver. "Is it not obvious?" she returned, her voice seductive. "Your hair and mine form the orb of night."
He nodded, and softly kissed her mouth. She reciprocated, her eyes filling with pleasure, her mouth opening under his caress. He broke it then. "All as planned, then?"
She inclined her head. "Indeed."
He watched her go, and as he saw the screen of midnight that lay across her shoulders shine with a blue gleam as it moved, he was suddenly left with the inexplicable feeling that all his hair did was reflect her radiance.