"Sir, if I was your wife, I would give you a drink full of cyanide."

"Ma'am, if I was married to you, I would drink it."

And thus it began.

It began with a glare, and a dare, and a honeymoon spent in the dreariest house known to court. They were two perfect lovebirds: haters, adulterers, and overall misanthropes who despised each other's company. They were considered the perfect match; they hated each other so much that they didn't even need to get married to become so spiteful. No one knew, perhaps not even the participates themselves, where this God everlasting hatred came from, or it's source or origin, or why there was even a point to their incessant arguments. One could claim that they did it for the fame and attention, some say that they do so for their own personal pleasure from getting a rise out of another human being. But the commonly held point of view was that they had no idea why in the world they loathed each other so passionately. It was despise at first sight; the second they laid eyes on the other was the first second in a long fantasy of seeing their head on a plate, or their body strung up to dry at high noon. They wanted to see each other dead and roasting.

Thus, it was only natural that this unhappy couple was soon betrothed and wed.

And it was only natural that this unhappy couple would parade their misery to the populace in general, and they did so by attending parties. Whether they be masques or balls, fancy dress up or a simple gathering, they attended. They attended and caught the attention of all who had arrived and delivered that attention to their own selves, their own pain, their own suffering. Some would say that they were a human burden upon the land, much like beggers in a successful sprawling city. Others believed them to be a literal reflection upon life, a reminder that morose and agony were not far away, that they were always there, always ready to pray upon the weak-minded.

But one particular party was a happy party, that would not allow such an unhappy couple to destroy its festive aire.

The party was held underneath the cool blue moon of summer's night. A sweet melody with an indiscernible origin wafted between the tables and underneath the garden trellises. It was a happy and vibrant party, one celebrating the last of the warm months before the winds from the south turned cold and the trees turned from lush green plants of life to chilled icicles of slumber. But, for all the party's tried and certain air, this one couple was not happy.In fact, for Lord Bragon and Lady Ile, the party was hell, pure and simple.

These two lovers were convicted of infidelity early on in marriage, and their lovers were quickly dispatched of, leaving them alone with each other in their misery. Their impetuous marriage lasted longer than anyone would have thought it would; many of their friends and acquaintances believed that they would have gotten rid of each other in any way possible. They still attended the same parties?as they were part of the same social groups?but they tried to pretend that they didn't know each other, as shown by their frequent acerbic bouts. But everyone knew that their immortal union would continue to stay, so long as the two involved desired to stay immortal.

But even the wonderful evening with beautiful music, they were still at each other's throats all night. Even with the dancing, the singing, the fantastic food, the excellent company, and the sweet, sweet wine, they still avoided each other with a deranged passion, and tried to out each other when they couldn't avoid it. It was their little game, their little strife to argue and come at each other's throat whenever possible. There were only several times that they would tolerate each other's company, and that was when they were trying to escape the gaity of the party, which they both shared a hatred for. But it wasn't before long did the party escape to them.

"Lord Bragon!" The voice came out from behind the addressee. It was one of Bragon's longest friends, the Duke of Hatsford, Lionel. "It's so nice to see you! It's been quiet a time, I believe." Lionel shook hands with his dear friend and took Ile's hand and kissed her knuckles lightly. "And the Lady Ile as well, as beautiful as always." Ile gave Bragon a haughty look and a smug smirk at the attention. "I don't see why more people don't come to these wonderful little parties, even though you, with your… uh… marriage troubles," Lionel hinted uncertainly, "come regularly to them."

"It's an epidemic," Bragon replied replied dryly.

"I daresay," Lionel responded. "So, how have you two been making out? I don't think I've heard from you in the longest."

"It's been a trial," Ile said, rolling her eyes and leaning slightly against a table.

"Especially with my dearest's… little idiosyncrasies," Bragon added. Ile gave him an irate look.

"What's been going on between you to?" Lionel asked.

"Oh, nothing much," Ile said.

"Besides little Ile here getting herself kidnapped."

Ile's face set itself in a state of shock.

"Kidnapped?" Lionel exclaimed, a grin spreading over his face. "What happened?"

"Oh, two rogues broke into the house in the middle of the night and my dear Ile was gone," Bragon continued, placing a hand on Ile's shoulder.

"What in the world are you talking about, you pompous twit?" Ile sputtered.

"Did you rescue her?" Lionel asked eagerly.

"Of course I did, but it was quite difficult. They had escaped quickly into the night, my dear Ile held immobile in their care. I had to act quickly; I sent out that I would pay a high price to anyone who had any information on a pair of kidnappers recently, a bonus if they could provide a name."

"Of all the ridiculous things…" Ile shot. "This is… this is outrageous; that never happened!" Bragon quickly moved his hand over her mouth and continued:

"But I myself had to work quickly as well. I took my finest horses and finest men and took after her. We transversed the forest, searching, searching for my dear Ile. We delved deeply into enchanted forests, until we came upon an old crone, oh, such a withered old crone. Her wrinkles were large as caverns and her mouth gaping like a deep crevice in the earth, with nary a tooth to be found. We demanded of her where the men had gone. She pointed us in the right direction--they had been stealing her magical petunias--and I gave her a generous stipend and moved on.

"We exited the forest, tough on the feet of our quarry. Me and my men had to travel across the very mountains themselves to get there, passing over stormy deserts with blistering winds, jungles in the deepest, darkest parts of the map, before descending far, far down into the earth to stand face to face with their impenetrable fortress."

"What was it like?" Lionel asked, excitement popping in his voice.

"The only thing I could see were the gates themselves, rising high, embedded with gold and jewels and etched with thousands of ancient and evil ruins designed to keep anyone grand and good like myself out."

Ile snorted.

"And I stood at those doors and I knocked the giant knocker, shaped like a gargoyle, demanding interest into the fortress, demanding my dear Ile back. Eventually they let me in; they knew my grandiose power, my skill, they were scared of me and what I could do. I strode through the halls, looking for my Ile, demanding to see the man in charge of the place, until I saw him, standing high above me, brandishing a sword, wanting my head."

"How tall was he?" Lionel asked.

"Six, seven feet high in the air, a look of pure malice across his ugly face, ready to chop me to ribbons."

"Did you ever notice the stool that he was standing on?" Ile asked blandly. "This thing could have been over that much quickly if you had simply kicked the stool out from under him and left."

"And then we fought!" Bragon continued with hardly a second look towards his wife. "It was a magnificent battle, sword against sword, steel against steel, physical wit against unimpeded madness. We fought, long and hard. But soon, almost too soon for my tastes, he fell to his knees, demanding no more, sweat and tears running down his face, heaving with pain with every breath. He said, 'No more, no more, take your lady and leave my place.' So I did, I traveled deep into the heart of his castle, past all those notorious traps of his, past all his guards who tried an attempt on my life. But I slayed them all, every braggart, every bastard laid dead at my feet. I reached her dungeon, and I swept my Ile away in my arms," Bragon reached over and grabbed Ile by the waist and dipped her, "and left." And then he kissed her. Ile screamed at him through his mouth, flailing. She hit him over the head and escaped from his grasp, panting hard.

"You monster!" she screamed. "I dare you to speak to me again!" With that, she turned on her heel and stormed off. Her fuming figure disappeared among the dancing masses.

"Bragon, my dear friend," Lionel said, patting a hand on Bragon's shoulder. "Why in the world did you ever marry that dreadful woman?"

"To get that large tract of land that you offered me, and still owe me," Bragon replied.

"Ah," Lionel murmured. "I suppose that's why I've been avoiding you all this time?"

"I guess so. It's hard to get a contract signed when the other party is noticeable absent."

"Yes, drat. I've forgotten about that."

And the music continued on, singing its sweet melody out across the party well into the night. It's fanciful tune never stopped, never wavered in accordance to its means. No man could stop it, no man could prevent it. And so the night moved onwards, ever onwards. And, far off into the distance--but not so distant future?--one Duke of Hatsford lost one hundred and thirty acres to his storytelling friend.