Date: 2010-02-21 01:46 am (UTC)
Ilarion looked at him for a moment, then laughed bloodlessly.

"Going to take him to the slaughterhouse, is that it?"

He glanced away, biting his lip for a microsecond, leaning back against the counter.

"Stands to reason that the same goes for a steer with a broken leg, and a man with a broken mind."

He brought his features back into line, then turned to face his father's shadow man again.

"It's good of you to come, Uncle Slava, but I fear you're wasting your time."

Lasha's pale gaze roamed absently over the black-coated figure, a stark presence in the warm glow of the grand historic kitchen, with its arch-vaulted ceilings.

Cheslav Oleksei brought with him the faint scent of cigars and brimstone, and an undefined rough-dark-sweet quality that Ilarion could only identify as something that came from soot and asphalt, cinders and the streets.

Pleasant, but dangerous. Not unlike the essence his son Taras had begun to emanate, now in his teens, in some kind of genetic homage. Both were primal. Yet Taras' essence was raw, heavy and unrestrained. Cheslav's was strong, but understated. Mellowed but potent. Aged. Matured.

It was familiar to Lasha, and did not faze him. He had grown up among dangerous men of all kinds. Sharks and wolves and bears. He was a cub of such men, an innate heir to their mantles, and there was nothing to fear.

"Father is, to be blunt, a wreck. Insensate. Incoherent."

Ilarion's eyes slid toward Nika, who frowned in reluctant accord.

"If you came to offer condolence, it will be wasted. If you came to console him, he won't accept it. If you came to speak to him, he won't hear you."

Lasha shook his head slowly.

"I shouldn't let you see him in this state. He's wracked with grief and consumed by guilt."

His lip tightened and his eyes narrowed, leveling at the dark mahogany floor.

"As his son, I must insist he be left alone."
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February 2010

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