4. Weapons Training, Skirt-Chasing and Pious Devotion

Soundtrack: Peter Gabriel, No Self Control

Fabius’ time in the Shelawn household is marked by three obsessions: weapons training, skirt-chasing, and pious devotion to Corellon Larithian, the Bringer of Light and patron of gray elves. Fabius has taken to fasting weekly. Within the confines of his job and the rhythms of the household, he maintains his shrine with monastic devotion. He feels a driving need to purify himself, to be good. Like most elves, he doesn’t connect sex with impurity, so his womanizing represents a scheduling conflict, not an instance of glaring hypocrisy. Later Inglorion will think of this as his Saint Sebastian phase, when he was frequently injured, always half-starved, and completely rigid and obsessive.

For servants in Liamelia, every seventh day is a half-day. On those days, Fabius surrenders to his obsessions. He routinely fasts from sunrise to sunset, then spends the afternoon training hard, feeling increasingly lightheaded, then finally exhausted, or, more often, exhilarated. At sunset he breaks his fast and goes catting, either calling on a girl who he knew to be receptive, or roaming the city, alone or with casual companions. It’s a tribute to the resilience of youth that he’s able to fuck one or two girls soundly, often all night, and show up for his duties the following day, spent and giddy. 

He believes that he fasts and prays because it satisfies his god. In fact, all of his prayers center on one object: he wants to be cleansed, he wants to be pure. If he were to examine that impulse even a bit, he would realize that he’s felt stained since birth. In truth, his devotions are directed towards a single, simple object that he can’t bear to articulate: he wants to have dark eyes. If his eyes were violet like Sieia’s, or even brown, he could live in the sunlight and see colors, and he would no longer be beautiful, terrible and cursed. He recognizes this wish in himself on occasion, and when he does, he recoils from it.

There are times when he imagines that his irises are getting a little darker. He may imagine a fleck or spot of color on their unrelieved metallic brilliance. When this happens, the force of his longing frightens him. He’s old enough to know that he’s half-Drow, and that his eyes will no more turn violet than his skin will turn black. He knows it’s crazy to imagine that they could change, to examine them eagerly for evidence, and so he tells himself that he’s seeking purity, good and light. In truth, he wants desperately to be something other than what he is. 

His weapon training, too, is best left unexamined. On the simplest level, he takes pride in  his prowess. Though he’s never been in combat, he excels at sparring. Over time, through sheer, relentless force of will, he’s shifted to fighting with heavy weapons — first, a longsword two-handed, then with a longsword in each hand. He’s retained much of his quickness and precision, and he’s gained incredible strength and endurance. His fighting style represents the victory of will over flesh. Any half-orc or human can pick up a longsword and swing it, but he’s slight and short even for an elf, and he dual-wields longswords, and does it well.

This feat has taken an enormous physical toll, one that he rarely allows himself to consider. He’s been chronically injured for many years, and often in pain. Sex is his only vice — he doesn’t dare drink, smoke or use drugs, for fear of interrupting his training schedule and losing strength. His body is stunningly beautiful — lean, muscled, taut — and he’s mastered it completely, so that he fights, dances and fucks with control, precision and grace. Women are drawn to his beauty, of course, but to Fabian that’s pleasant but irrelevant. His real longing, his one true goal, is to advance in strength and battle prowess. 

Though skirt-chasing is the least defensible of Fabius’ activities, in many ways it is the most untroubled, joyous aspect of his existence. Seduction comes easily to him. He has many natural advantages, of course, but he also puts time and effort into figuring out how to get women into bed, and pleasing them once they’re there. He genuinely loves women — finds them adorable, intriguing, intoxicating. He loves to chat them up, entertain them, make out with them. And Fabius loves sex. He can fuck for hours and has no modesty or taboos. He sees sex as a lovely two-person adventure, the greatest possible source of intimacy and mutual enjoyment. 

Perhaps best of all, from his perspective, he’s entirely untroubled by any deeper feelings. He gives and receives almost excruciating physical pleasure, and feels a kind of cheerful, conspiratorial camaraderie towards every girl he fucks. He has favorites, of course — girls whose beauty or natural gifts or talents or willingness and spirit made them stand out. But he has never felt anything resembling love. 

In his youth, Fabius breaks hearts by the score, inspires terrible passions that to him seem uncomfortable and faintly absurd. It seems to him that there must be some playacting or self-deception involved. He’s beautiful, yes, but women shouldn’t fall for a pretty face. Sex, in the end, is merely sex: a source of pleasurable sensations, but ephemeral. To him, it’s absurd to think that a woman might care for him beyond his face and body and the pleasure he can provide. 

He is fundamentally kind, and he knows it’s wrong to let women fall in love with him, so he does his juvenile best to shield his partners from this vice, this disease of love. He’s careful never to let them see him with Sieia, because he’s noticed that they’re touched by his protectiveness. He never speaks of his past or future, his wishes or fears, or of the deeper tides that pull and batter him. He ruthlessly ends any connection before it can become too affectionate, too sentimental. This necessity saddens him. He would dearly love to have a female companion with whom he could share a deepening sexual connection. There’s much that he would love to have the time and trust and security to explore. 

On the whole, for Fabius sex is a source of sweetness and joy. Unlike fighting and devotion, he does it out of pure enjoyment — because it’s part of the grand adventure of life, the story that is just beginning.

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