STF

Flames of Fate - A Reunion in the Shadows

Posted May 6, 2021, 7 a.m. by Lieutenant Commander Akirel Ros (Consultant Researcher (Engineering)) (David Shotton)

Posted by Commander Kara Nakuto (Consultant Researcher - Yellow (Engineering)) in Flames of Fate - A Reunion in the Shadows
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Posted by Lieutenant Commander Akirel Ros (Consultant Researcher) in Flames of Fate - A Reunion in the Shadows

Posted by Civilian Kara Nakuto (Engineer (Consultant Researcher - Yellow)) in Flames of Fate - A Reunion in the Shadows

This was not how it ended. This place, this arena where the light could not reach, where every inch of the stone hewn walls, every seat of the cold, wooden benches, had been chiselled from the very fabric of the abyss. It was the dominion of shadow, of those things that crept and lurched unceasingly within her ragged subconscious. This Gre’thorian battle could only be enacted here, on their ground. And at its nightly conclusion, when she fell, spent and exhausted, onto the hard, sandy floor, only then would she be rewarded with the treasured prize of slumber. It was the only way Nakuto had been successful in achieving undisturbed sleep.

The final vestiges of the shadows surrounding her fled, their silent screams of terror and torment at being denied their prey in their own lair this night fading into the souls of the two people left in the room. A silence fell, deeper than the well of emptiness that had been in Ros’ soul for far too long. An emptiness that had fed the hunger and fire that had grown inside him unchecked. That silence broke now as the senses of the two people found balance, broken by the crackle of flame from the wall sconces as the darkness closed in behind him, the light forging ahead around the pit engulfing her in it’s radiance.

But today the light had found her, had blazed fierce and dazzling from every single point. And with it the shadows had fled. Not from her - she was not quite so arrogant as to expect a combat-gained victory here. But then from whom?

Ros’ eyes turned to Kara, settling on the form of the woman. Redemption? Revelation, or a harbinger of woe before the end came? For a long time Ros sensed the darkness that had enveloped this woman, a demon of anguish, his eyes travelling every inch of the woman he had known intimately.

And almost immediately the answer came in that avalanche chill down her spine. Someone else was here. Someone borne not from shadow, but instead from flesh and blood. She could hear it, staccato gunfire as its breath pierced the silence of the room. She could feel it, every hair on her body trembling with the visual caress of its eyes along her skin. And as those eyes continued to bore into her without saying a word, she could sense it burrowing to the depths of her very soul.

With the intruder still at her back, Kara’s eyes darted right to find Akirel Ros. The Bajoran remained in his seat, right arm now raised and pointing at the other, handsome face contorted into a mask of pure terror. Breath caught in her throat and ignited her to action, her own bat’leth raised as she drew a steadying breath and then, in movements honed from decades of discipline, pirouetted on her right leg to face her foe - the blade coming to rest against the soft, warm skin of a startlingly familiar throat.

“Kara,” Ros said simply, quietly but in a deep tone. He hadn’t moved, hadn’t flinched. His eyes remained on hers as the blade of the bat’leth rested it’s edge against his skin. He felt the bite keenly, the will of the weapon to slide ever so slightly and draw the blood from his heart, to draw his life away and send his soul to join the shadows banished into the abyss.

Her legs faltered, stumbled backwards into the pit, bare feet finding purchase at last and maintaining precarious balance. Brown eyes bore into his own, not holographic this time but real and containing every fathom of the depths that she had once willingly dove into and allowed to swallow her whole. And once again she felt the pull, that irresistible current of excitement and adventure, of intimacy and connection, of family and belonging. Of love. But her fingers still clung to the shore, to the diminishing illusion of reality and the physical laws of life versus death. Her mind scrambled to gain understanding, to gain acceptance, of the ghost now standing before her, yet solid as if still alive and not torn from her arms by the void.

“You.” It was all she could whisper before the barren scourge of words sealed her throat.

Lowering his hands and watching the warrior before him as he took a step towards the pit where she stood, he pulled off his shirt revealing the scars and the tattooed 31 on the inside of his right bicep. She knew these marks, intimately. Had added to them. She knew about the tattoo, she had told him he never needed to hide them from her and since he had lost her, he had never hidden them. The other secret, of course he hid from everyone, but that was something Kara would know he would never show the world willingly.

Eyes roamed his body with a hunger and passion she had thought no longer hers. Every inch, every feature, every blemish familiar to a hair, the story of their intimacy marked out in gentle scratches of tenderness and deep chasms of raw, unadulterated passion. She dared to inch a step closer, her movements deliberate and measured, as if one single slip of her foot could trigger the chaos and give him reason to strike. To his credit he remained steadfast as the half-Klingon circled around him, re-living the tale of their coupling at each beautiful scar - the deep indent on his shoulder where her teeth had laid their claim, dark valleys the length of his back where her nails had marked him as her own. This, here, was the true poetry - not in the flowery words recited by him as her hands tore at his skin, but in the aftermath of her desire, her want and need for every atom of him carved for eternity into his soul.

His hands rose again to each side as she circled him. A huntress weighing her prey, and he giving himself to her inquisition willingly. He spoke no words, because no words could fill the void between them yet. Words had no hold here, no power as her eyes travelled the curves of his body. This was an examination of primal energy, of scent and memories that each scar on his body held for her. Each scar a tale of their coupling, an epic opera of lust and need, of a connection that endured the darkest reaches of space and their own souls, the fates of worlds within them.

Her journey finally completed, she returned once more to face him and to drink of those fathomless green eyes. Until her tears conspired to blind her and, no strength remaining to resist, she allowed a single drop to spill down her cheek - a mirror of the bite she once left on his own, the taste of him still familiar and sweet in her mouth.

Ros’ arms lowered from his side when she stood before him, he felt the tear on her cheek within him as his eyes remained on hers, sinking into the depths of her soul seeking the Kara he needed within. Ros raised his hand, his fingers gently caressing her cheek, searching for the tear with an electric jolt that launched the flames in him higher as the sensation of her skin came to him. Memories flooded back, images behind his eyes of his hands on her skin, his lips on her skin. The taste of her blood as his own teeth made scars on her neck as her nails made scars on his. Memories in his soul, savage and raw they hit him threatening to bring him to his knees but the fire that burned held him still, forbid him to drop.

But the agony of time came upon her and the taste turned to ash on her tongue, memories beautiful and fragile as woven glass crumbled instantly by the nightmare of the void. So powerful as to almost find form, Nakuto winced as her consciousness was once more plunged into darkness, into endless months of torture and of agony with him gone from her side. He had abandoned her. Or had she left him? Impossible now to discern raw truth from this mountain of unendurable pain. They had both been swallowed by the beast, but she had believed only herself to have come out alive.

Ros felt the agony within her for an instant as the darkness rose again. Shadows within her fought him, pushed the memories away and replaced them with truth. He hadn’t been there when she needed him, he had betrayed her. Ros the Betrayer, the shadows taunted him from the depths of his soul and he felt the rage rise in him, the anger of truth. He hadn’t been there, how could he possibly be worthy of her when he hadn’t been there when she needed him. His hand dropped from her face as she winced, the contact broken.

And then she had mourned him. She had grieved for him and cried for him and roared to him in Sto’vo’kor until her throat was ragged and torn. And with Tal’ahali’s help she had come to terms with her loss. Had relegated him to dreams, to a ghost forever cold and invisible in her bed. But Akirel Ros was no ghost. He was here. He was returned, standing before her now in solid, flesh and blood form. How could she not have known? Through the misery of the intervening years, how could she not have heard? Have sensed him? Almost reflexively her bat’leth was raised, her body falling easily into its warrior stance, even as the tears continued to fall, each one a tsunami of loneliness and of suffering against the cold steel cutting into her palm.

Backing from her a step, Ros took a vest from a stand beside the pit. Torn and sporting metal studs and dark stains he slipped it over his shoulders, zipping it tight over his chest as he stepped into the Pit facing the woman that had been taken from him so long ago, leaving the muscles of his arms exposed. “I thought you were dead,” he said quietly in his low tone, no words would explain, no words would excuse what had happened so he offered no excuse. His words were only fact, no hint of apology or shame was in them. Kara deserved better than to have Akirel Ros before her after all this time, after all this pain, just to say ‘sorry’. That wasn’t her way, and it wasn’t his way. Both of them knew each other in this, their issues always worked out hand to hand, will to will and body to body.

“I was,” she offered in ragged whisper. “And so were you.”

He nodded, his eyes held a fire that Kara would recognize, that no holodeck recreation could match. It was the fire of the way that Akirel Ros had always looked at Kara Nakuto the woman and warrior, not Kara Nakuto the Captain. “I was, and I had lost you.”

Akirel Ros

“You have found me,” Nakuto replied.

So easy it felt, in that moment, to end both their suffering and submit. One step was all it would take and then she could once again be in his arms, muscles heavy and strong against her back, her head bobbing gently with each rise and fall of his chest, the beat of the heart within him confirming at each stroke that he was truly, undeniably, alive.

The room around them began to darken, the light of the fires in the wall sconces dimmed slightly and shadows played at the edges of Ros’ vision, just like they always had. Silent cries of ecstasy and appetite tugged at the edges of his senses, tearing and crawling at the foothold to climb within and nest in the darkness.

But on this torrent of fear, new memories began to surface - memories of a different Ros. A darker Ros. Not one snatched from her by the darkness but one that welcomed it as an old friend. Of a face in the shower so wholly familiar and yet terrifying all the same. And as she stared at him now the realisation chilled her to the bone - she could not tell which Ros stood before her, the one come to lead her into the light? Or the one set to drag her back to the void. She remained frozen, her feet planted to the ground, bat’leth held before her like a physical barrier, watching, waiting, to see if he would cross.

  • Kara Nakuto (Consultant Researcher)

The moment seemed to last an eternity, the light flickered and struggled as the shadows clawed and screamed their silent rejoicing of victory, hungry to feast on the new memories and feelings that were in the pit. Fear, anguish and grief were fresh and the shadows fought with the light to claim their banquet. The fire within him struggled as the memories assaulted him, the darkness spreading in the doubt and fear that welled within him.

She could sense the doubt within him, bitter acid driving the taste of him from her tongue. Fear, loss, inadequacy, potent deluge of acrid emotion spilling from each of them in turn. Around them the air grew heavy, each drop of uncertainty and suspicion taking form into a physical shroud, lamentable chill of a pale, unwelcome morning, forbidding for them the sanctuary to be found in a lover’s arms.
Was it himself that he doubted in that moment? Or had he glimpsed the abyss within Kara Nakuto as surely as she had sensed it in him?

For years Ros had fed the fire, used his soul as a bargaining tool to dull the pain of the loss of Kara Nakuto, willed the fire to consume him, to end the grief and mourning he felt inside but couldn’t face. An unholy pact of his blood and flame had kept him breathing, kept him focused on existing when he didn’t want to exist. The shadows knew this, felt it. Felt Kara’s armor had a chip and their senses swirled with a cry of abyssal pleasure as Ros’ defenses dropped fully. He let them in.

His surrender broke upon her, tsunami of shadow rising up and he captured by the resulting swell. Anchor-chain coiled within her stomach, knots and tangles too established to hoist, leaving her motionless as she watched on. Helpless. Impotent. Until she could no longer distinguish the point where Ros ended and the shadows began. As if he had become one with the darkness. As it had been within her.
A singular and tentative step forwards, hand reaching out for the Bajoran but then retreating, as if burned, at the last. Afraid. Terrified of this man whom had once been her universe. but was it truly Ros who now scared her? Or was it merely herself and the knowledge that her love came laden with danger, with risk that threatened to unbalance reward. If he was to return to her, then he must do so willingly and with abandon. From the void that churned within her, she could conjure no protection for him.

Ros’ eyes flared with heat, fire almost as the wall sconces dropped their flame. The darkness enveloped Kara and Ros and the cold fate that awaited them here spread like thunder. Ros raised his hand, a bat’leth that he hadn’t held before gripped between his palm and fingers, blade bright and hungry as he faced Kara Nakuto finally. Ros and Kara had trained together, many times on the Viking. Many times had he faced her as they sparred, she was his better, Ros a pale imitation of warrior when faced with the pure primal rage and passion that was Kara.

Warm light met cold steel, the fusing of polarities a vibrant dance of passion and danger, of pleasure and pain, all united along this razor edge. Kara felt the swell within her, that primal need for the touch of a hand or a weapon, interchangeable in their immediacy, indistinguishable in the connection they made with her body, raw need for teeth and for metal to bite deep into pleading flesh.

“I have found you,” Ros told Kara, his voice a growl while the shadows swirled around them and he lifted his Bat’leth into his battle stance, two hands on the hilts of the weapon, blade angled away from him and a deadly angle. “Some say the world will end in fire, some say ice. From what I have tasted of desire, I hold with those who favour fire. But, if it had to perish twice I think I know enough of hate, to say that for destruction ice, is also great, and would suffice.” Ros recited the lines as his eyes were fixed on hers. The words were not those of the poem he recited to her before their first joining, but she would know them. Fire and Ice, a symbol that had meaning for Kara and Ros in the past and she would know, that only the real Ros would understand this.

“The world will end,” she echoed, eyes locked onto his as they blazed with near-insatiable hunger. “And the joining of fire and ice will be the undoing of both. For as with each lick of flame the ice will find itself thawed, so too with each breath of frost will the fire be diminished. Two opposites joined in destructive union. And when only meltwater remains, then the heavens will fill each warrior cup and as one will they take their seat in the great hall of Sto-vo-kor.”

“The great hall will shake at their arrival,” he continued, his blade moving in slow, deadly circles around him as he stalked the shadows that surrounded them but dared not approach the pair. Moving close to Kara, Ros circled her as she had done to him earlier, stopping behind her and turning to her. His head moving over her shoulder beside hers as his chest lightly rested against her back and his breath caressed her neck. “An arrival none have seen since the great Kahless and his love Lukara stepped foot victoriously in those halls. Warriors will roar and raise their tankards as they take their seat, and songs will be sung in voices of legend.”

Eyes closed, she inhaled deeply of his unique and familiar scent, wide grin coaxing her lips into a mirror of the weapon now raised in gleaming smile before her.

“I will not lose you again!” He roared at her, lunging forward past her and spinning, swinging his bat’leth. The fire of his soul matched against the ice of her determination. Fire and Ice. Ros’ blade passed into the shadows beside her as the dark souls closed hungrily around them, eager for their feast.

Akirel Ros

“I will not allow you to!” she roared in return, bat’leth tearing through shadow as the leviathan through a tumultuous sea. Until in the darkness it found his, then sang out in reverent hymn as steel collided with steel, chorus met with primal roar unleashed from the depths of her throat. For a moment they remained locked, both in motion and in time, amber eyes boring into green and savouring each temptation within. Until her own resistance failed and, with almost predatory need, Nakuto brought her face up to his and collided their lips for that first, desperate kiss.

Ros grunted, both in the pain of the impact and the memory of her taste brought alive on his lips. Hungrily his lips returned the kiss, an urgent need of passion riding on a wave of determination. Shadows forgotten and ignored, ghosts of the past banished in that kiss as the taste of Kara filled him with a fire once again. A fire that bore love, and a passion of commitment. Gone was the fire of shame and hate, of a pact of blood used to feed an existence not worth living. Kara Nakuto was in his life once more.

And for a moment the chasm between them diminished and they returned in spirit to the Naglfar, keen engineer and nervous captain, abandoning the artifice of dutiful propriety as they seized from each other those precious moments of delight and of comfort and strength.

The shadows around them screamed as one, a unified peal of anger and despair. The dark souls fed on hate, loss and fear. The withering souls of the mourning and lost fed their appetite and fueled their passions. The two reunited lovers before them were a blazing wall of none of those, as fire and ice mixed and fed an inferno of passions that swirled into an invulnerable shield that the shadows reviled. Fire and Ice together forging a steel that no shadow could darken.

Ros’ lips curled into a smile on hers, the groan turning into a laugh as his eyes opened once more and both amber and green eyes found each other again. He gave himself to her in that moment, that essential moment when before battle complete surrender was needed between them.

Then Nakuto retreated and the connection was torn, her weapon driving towards him and grazing his left cheek as she aimed for the shadow at his back. These steps she could retrace to the end of all time. Pain then pleasure then pain until each was indivisible from the next. And in that moment, Kara finally understood the true horror she had encountered in the void. Nothing. Every moment, every second of excruciating torture had been empty without the requisite pleasure. Just as each celebration of her eventual escape had been meaningless when uncoupled from pain. It was here, in this infinite circle, that she was completed by Akirel Ros. Here that she drew sustenance from the forged dichotomy of delight versus despair. Of life versus death. Of fire versus ice. Of Kara Nakuto versus Akirel Ros.

The two warriors moved as one, weapons swung into the shadows around them harmleseley as they flowed around the two, now vulnerable again. The being that was Akirel Ros matched the warrior Kara Nakuto, bat’leths met in the shadows sending sparks forth, creating a flash of light which repulsed the shadows. Faster, the two warriors flowed into battle as blades clashed and sparks flew. The Thunderdome ringing with the sound of singing steel, broken sometimes as blade met flesh and drew blood but never slowing.

Ros laughed, felt the blood trickle down his cheek from her blade and numerous other small nicks as the pair flowed around each other. “Enough!” He roared at the dark souls surrounding them, stepping back and holding his arms out, feeling the heat in him flare once more. Passion woken from somewhere deep inside that pierced the despair that had been in his heart and the smile he showed the world that hid his pain. The heat burst forth, the wall sconces of the holodeck flaming to life as if immeasurable power flowed behind them and Ros himself just for a second seemed to grow and wreath himself into a cloak of fire, the room seeming to dissolve into a cavern bathed in the light of fire and rock. The shadows that tormented them screamed in agony as they were torn from the ethereal emptiness they thrived in, ripped asunder and banished into the abyss where Ros and Kara had endured their torments. They would return, but only the tormented stood victorious now.

Eyes open, flame consumed him, bathed him in a gown of fire. Just for the barest hint of a second then gone before one could blink, he stood once more before her in the Thunderdome.

Which Ros now stood before her? She no longer cared to separate the two. For the truth was that Akirel Ros was both darkness and light. And in him, Nakuto knew she would find both fear and love in equal abundance. And from each drop she would craft them a home in the deepest recess of the abyss.

  • Kara Nakuto (Consultant Researcher)

He stepped the few short paces to her and reached forward, taking hold of the hair behind her head and pulling Kara into him. He kissed her urgently, passionately. Blade held to one side he drank in the taste of her, both her lips and the blood on them from their joining earlier and her blade cut. Now Ros needed her, the memory of the Naglfar gone but the woman he had longed for in his empty despair before him.

Letting her go, Ros stepped back slightly, his deep green eyes lowering to her amber orbs and gazing into them intently, urgently. “I have found you and I will not leave you, Kara. Not now. I will kiss you in every place of legend and glory, so that you can never think of them again without tasting me like blood in your mouth. I will destroy you, in the most beautiful ways you can imagine, so that when your eyes open each morning you will smile and finally understand why storms are named after people. My heart is yours, my life, is yours.”

His eyes flared again not with flame but with something deeper as he brought the blade to his hand and sliced, letting the crimson ribbon of his blood fall to the floor of the Thunderdome when he reached for her hand with his. Now the only sound was crackle of flame in the wall sconces, embers dropping to the floor. The clash of Fire and Ice settling for the moment as the eye of the storm engulfed them.

Akirel Ros, Consultant Researcher


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