Twice more, the explosions went off followed by a plume of debris and the sounds of dying men. After the third explosion, Cael actually felt the wind from the concussion and many of the men began to get nervous realizing how close the enemy was. "Able I want you to stay behind the wall. Don't engage their magician unless you have to. I can't afford to lose you." Cael looked over as Able acknowledged him with a yawn and a wave.
The order was given to make ready, the men were quiet and only the occasional sound of a horse neighing in the background was to be heard. Suddenly a horn sounded, followed by another, and then joined by many to form a chorus of war horns that were then joined by the yells and screams of those who were still alive. All at once they charged out from the tree line and Cael could see that while the explosives had been effective, there was still a great many more they would have to deal with. The call for a volley was given and arrows rained down as the horde ran forward undaunted. Immediately ladders and grappling hooks began to go up as the men on the wall shot arrows down into the crowd below.
They breached the wall and fighting began along the ramparts and eventually made its way down into the city. Cael stayed close to Tyron as much as possible during the fight, they called for the men to fall back from the wall about an hour after the initial charge and began to slowly back towards the secondary wall surrounding the centre of town and the castle. Their opponent was beginning to spread themselves too thin as they pushed forward and about halfway to the second wall they began to hold the line. Archers took to the roofs of houses and barricades were erected in the streets with wagons and barrels to halt their advance. Cael’s shoulder was taking its toll on him by this point, after dispatching his opponent with a slice to the throat he fell back and reaching up he could feel blood seeping through the cotton. Possibly a stitch had come loose or the movement had aggravated the wound. Either way he kept going until eventually, the enemy either realized their predicament or wanting to regroup fell back to take refuge against the outer wall giving both sides a small respite.
Evelynn was afraid. She heard the explosions come closer and closer and she sunk her head between her legs and tried to keep the sound out. After the third and last explosion, she finally uncovered her ears and walked over to a window that faced the outer wall where Cael was. She could barely see him from where she stood and a nurse that was in the same room came over to her. "Don't be afraid child, they are trained fighters, they won't die so easily, and even if they get wounded, we are here to help them, you included." Evelynn looked towards the nurse with a grateful look, nodding her head as thanks for relieving some of the stress that had built up inside of her.
Suddenly, horns started blowing outside the walls and they could be heard all the way to the barracks. "Now the real fighting starts, get ready" the nurse said and walked over to a table and started gathering her medical supplies, readying them for whenever they would be needed. Evelynn did the same, she could not watch the wall without doing anything any longer, or she feared that she would go mad with worry. "*Sigh* I guess there is nothing I can do right now anyway" she thought and sat down on one of the beds. She could hear the fighting getting closer and closer and once again she walked over to the window only to see enemies on the wall where Cael was supposed to be. She scanned along the extent of the wall to try and spot him. She finally did spot him, but she gasped when he almost got his head taken off as he ducked and Tyron slashed at the assailant, killing him.
She could see that his arm was getting slower and slower. "Oh lords, his shoulder is still wounded" she thought as the men started retreating back to the second wall. Evelynn grabbed her medical bag and rushed over to the door. "Where are you going girl?" the nurse asked her. "I need to get out there and help the wounded. I can't just sit here and wait. Make sure that you help everyone, not just our troops. Enough lives have been lost already in this foolish fight" she said and opened the door before she rushed into the streets. "I need to get to the second wall. Not just to help Cael, but to help everyone." Since she was already inside of the second wall, she did not meet any wounded on her way to Cael's position. Once she was there, the enemies had already retreated back to the first wall and both sides were licking their wounds. "Cael," she called when she saw him "how is the-?" She saw the blood-stains on his cloths and rushed to his side. "Oh lords, you're bleeding. Get that chainmail off and let me take a look."
Cael completely on reflex spun on the balls of his feet and in a swift moment brought the point of his sword up to Evelynn's throat and then froze. His pupils were constricted to tiny pin pricks and his breathing was laboured as he stood there with his sword pressed against her skin, a few moments went by and his eyes began to relax and shuddering for breath he let his sword fall to his side. He looked disoriented for a moment before putting away his sword and attempting to walk away. "I'm fine, don't worry about me."
Evelynn froze in fear as the sword touched her skin and drew a very thin line of blood from her throat. She stood there, looking into Cael's eyes until he removed his sword and turned away from her shortly after. "No you're not fine!" she shouted "There is no way you would point your sword towards me if you were fine! Besides you're bleeding from your shoulder! Damn it; stand still so that I can take a look!"
Cael stopped mid-step as she yelled at him, his hand twitching aggressively at his side. He looked off to the side so that all she saw was his profile and his face reflected the turmoil of his thoughts in that moment. His mind was racing and he knew he had behaved badly but it was like his emotions had put up a giant wall that prevented him from apologizing for it. Turning around to face her he looked at her with an expression of someone who was scared. Cael had gone through war, brawls, and true horrors and like anyone else it had left scars as deep and wide as the valley they were in. Through everything he had been through, he could not recall a single instance where he had not been scared for his life. But always forced to tuck his fears and anxieties behind a wall, never to be shown so that he could lead his men and get them home safely. To show fear would have caused them to panic and lose faith but now it was different because in that moment he looked at Evelynn with all of the fear and anxiety he had kept hidden for all of these years. The fear of dying...
Evelynn looked at his fearful expression; "That is not the Cael that I know. The Cael that I know is the fearless leader...........But can this be his real self?" Evelynn started to walk closer to him, slowly, trying not to scare him or make him draw his sword against her again. "Ssshhh, calm down Cael. Look me in the eyes, there is nothing to be afraid of. You are a good soldier, they should not be able to kill you, especially not when I am here to help you." She was now standing just a foot away from him and reached for his cheek with her hand. "See? We are both alive, and we'll be alive for a long time." She closed in all the way and leaned in against his chest. "You can feel that we both are alive right? There is no need to worry; I'll be here, now please. Let me take a look at that wound."
His breathing quieted down and holding her with his good arm he buried his face in her hair for a moment before eventually pulling away. "All right," Sitting down on a crate he pulled off his tunic and chainmail so that she was able to work on his shoulder. Pulling his arm out of his sleeve he could see that his movement had caused the stitching to come undone and the wound had begun bleeding again as it cracked open. Wincing he watched as the skin pulled apart as he flexed to reveal the underlying tissue, even now it looked like it was beginning to get infected. "Hrm...doesn't look very pretty does it."
"Not really no...Why did you not get it tended to properly?" she gave him a harsh stare. "It's these kinds of wounds that you can die from you know!" she raised her voice again. "Now, let’s get it cleaned up and disinfected." Evelynn took out a scalpel from her bag and cut away the broken stitching before removing the pus from the wound. "This is going to sting a lot" she said and took out some alcohol from the bag and drenched a cotton ball in it before pressing it against the wound as she started to disinfect it. "Time to make use of those sewing lessons" she put away the cotton ball and picked up a needle and a thick string of thread. "Here, drink some," she said and passed the alcohol to Cael "to ease the pain. I'll force you to drink some if you don't take it willingly."
Taking the flask he took a small sip before setting it down. When she glared at him for the small amount he shrugged. "Can't afford to be careless, hey Tyron?" "Yeah," His friend had been standing off to the side watching the whole time, dozing off for a moment he shot up when Cael called and walked over. "Can you go take a look and see where we're at? As far as where our forces are compared to theirs. I don't like that they pulled back the moment they had us on the ropes." "Sure thing, try not to do anything foolish while I'm gone through." Agreeing Tyron took off leaving a small guard behind to watch after Cael. Content in silence Cael turned to watch Evelynn as she worked on his shoulder.
"Here," she gave him a thin stick "bite on it, otherwise you might lose your tongue." The moment Cael bit down on the stick, she started sewing up his wound with the cold needle. Once she was done, she told him; "Now don't you dare fight with that arm for a while, but...you'll probably just ignore that and fight anyway" she sighed. "Just please, be careful. If you tear it up again, it might really get infected, and you might DIE!" Evelynn dropped her head. "But if you tear it up again, I promise that I'll smack you hard for you foolishness."
"You know I can't promise that." He stretched his shoulder before sliding his arm back into his shirt. "I'll do my best though," Standing up he slipped his chainmail and tunic back on before sitting back down. Everything was quiet for now, everyone around them was resting while they could. "I'm...sorry for earlier..." Wincing he reached forward to touch where his blade had cut her neck.
Evelynn grasped his hand with her own, pulling it away from her neck and led it to her cheek. "Don't worry about it. You did not mean to do it, you were just, afraid, it's normal." She stood there, holding his hand against her cheek for a while before she removed her own hand. "Sorry for shouting, I am just worried about you" she sighed. "Is anyone else wounded? I...need to help them too" she smiled gently at him "I can't spend all my time with you after all."
"True," Standing up he held out his hand to help her stand. Stepping forward he placed his hand against her cheek again and leaning forward, and kissed her. Today it was a conscious affection and he recognized it to himself for what it was. The contact was brief and pulling away he gave her a small smile. "Don't get hurt alright? Maybe we can't spend all of our time together now but when it's over...maybe."
"Are you proposing anything perhaps?" she asked with a teasing smile. "He can't be right? He said that he wasn't ready for anything like that." She smiled back at him. "Right?"
"I'm proposing nothing right now and hoping for everything. If nothing else the hope will give me something to make sure I come back for." He continued to smile at her, looking more and more like his usual self. "For now in the short term, let’s aim to make it out of this alive. Sound fair?"
"I....Sure, let’s survive first..." Evelynn was a bit stunned, did he really mean it? She was not sure, but if it kept him alive, and she did like him...but in that way? She was not sure of that either, what she did know was that they both had to survive before they could even think about anything like that. She blushed a little; "Let's talk about those things after this is over, all right? But I really need to get to the wounded, to help increase our chances of ever making it. The more fighters the better, right?" she said and kissed him lightly.
"Ahem," Cael snapped out of his daze and looked up to see Tyron leaning against a building looking smug. "Do you want my report or should I come back later?"
The faint reply of "Come back later we're watching!" came from one of the men somewhere. Moaning slightly Cael rubbed his forehead before responding, "No, what did you find? Also we gathered the wounded just behind the barn Evelynn."
Smiling, Tyron walked towards the both of them. "It looks like they're gathering their troops back against the wall. Also, it looks like the reinforcements from Everett have joined them. Also it looks like Aeron is here with them." Cael cringed inwardly that the news. Aeron was the commanding officer of Everett's first squadron while Cael had been in charge of the second. A serious man by nature he commanded the absolute obedience and precision from his men. Cael and him had never disagreed but nor had they been friends in the past.
Once she got behind the barn, Evelynn was met by a sight she did want to see, lines of wounded people, bleeding, some missing a limb or two. She tried her best not to throw up by the smell and closed in on the first person sitting there. The man had lost his left hand. She got a cotton ball out of her bag and drenched it in alcohol and patted it against his stump before she stitched it up and wrapped a bandage around it before she moved onto the next person. "Why do humans like battle so much? These are consequences of those stupid battles, people lose limbs, children lose their parents, and parents lose their children. It's so dumb."
Evelynn tended to the wounded to the best of her abilities. She did not like it, but those whom were well enough to keep fighting, were sent back to their units to help defend the city. She grasped the pendant around her neck absent-mindedly the nymph’s words returned to her when she remembered the explosions. She sighed before she returned to her duties of helping the wounded until the last one had been tended to. It was now that she started hearing the sounds of battle again.
Cael sighed as he and Tyron walked to the front line, he was thinking about what he knew about Aeron's tactics. Obviously they had never gone head to head with each other but they had fought together numerous times in the past. The first word that popped into his mind was cunning, Aeron was a head strong tactician whose flaw, if he had one, was that he would tunnel vision on a plan and misses a weakness in an otherwise flawless plan.
They talked for a while before a shout rang out from one of their scouts. The reprieve was over, Cael assumed they had pulled back in order to organize with Everett's troops and now that they had, they were ready to continue the blood bath. It didn't take long for Cael to see the enemy forces round the corner in a charge and clash head on with his men, eventually climbing over their barricades so that the battle spread throughout between the two walls.
Cael knew he needed to be careful with himself so he attempted to avoid the thick of the battle as best as he could but occasionally he would be confronted with an opponent that he would have to strike down. With support from the archers above on the buildings they held their own fairly assuredly and even began to gain some ground. Amidst the chaos though, Cael at one point noticed Able had been forced out of hiding by the enemies magician and the two of them were exchanging blows that bounced off of their defences. The glimpse was brief before he was forced to focus his attention on an attacker that came barrelling towards him.
Attempting to throw him back, his opponent brought his sword wheeling back around to bear down on him and it was with a sudden realization that Cael recognized his opponent. Aeron looked back at him with solemn eyes before head-butting Cael, causing him to stumble backwards. His vision blurred for a moment before he saw Aeron barrelling towards him again and barely managed to get his sword up in time to block him. Using his shoulder way more than he probably should have, he wheeled his sword around and swung laterally. His attack was slow and he watched as Aeron dodged it easily and took advantage of a small window of opportunity and slashed a deep cut into Cael's calf. Feeling his leg give out he fell to his knees only to feel Aeron give a swift knee to the face causing him to land flat on his back, his nose bleeding profusely.
Having hit his head on the paved road his vision was spinning in front of him but he was aware of a sudden whooshing sound and a concussive blast. Whatever it was, it must have been huge enough because there was never the finishing blow that Cael expected. Instead, feeling dazed he stumbled to his feet and looking around saw mixed chaos, all attempts of battle had ceased and the enemy had fallen into disarray as Cael's own men scrambled to put out fires and rescue the wounded or dying. Trying to take a step his leg gave out once more and he crashed to the floor and blacked out.
As the battle progressed, Evelynn sat with the wounded, waiting, and wishing that the fighting would stop. Almost as if responding to her plea, a massive force centred somewhere in the distance shook the entire town and set some buildings on fire. She shot up from her sitting position, getting a light headache for her trouble before shouting to the nearby people whom were well enough to walk around. "We need to quench the fires before it burns down the entire town" she said and rushed towards a nearby well and pulled up a bucket of water before she continued down into the town and threw it on the flames. It did little, but soon others started to join in on the effort and the fire started to die down. It was only after the first fire was put down that she looked around her, dead bodies, charred bodies, bodies twisted beyond imagination. This time, she could not take the smell and the look and she threw up.
After throwing up a few times, she got a hold of herself and started looking for those who still lived, the wounded. She had noticed that the fighting had stopped, and that BOTH sides were helping to put out the fires and tend to the wounded. "What on earth caused this?" she said into the air and turned her head down the road and started walking to where she thought the epicentre was. On her way there, she found the charring increased and so did the bodies of the dead. Finally at where the power had come from, she found not the familiar houses she was used to seeing, but charred ruins and at the centre, two stone statues that she knew were not there before. Evelynn walked closer to them and she noticed something odd about them. One of them had a striking resemblance to Able. "What happened here? Why is Able.......magic?" She quickly left the scene and hurried to find Cael, hoping that he was not dead.
She finally found him, in Tyron's arms, knocked out and bleeding all over. "Cael!" she rushed over to the two men and made Tyron help Cael to sit down before she pulled off his chainmail and looked at his wounds. "He's all beaten up. What happened?" she asked Tyron
"Able and the other magician got caught in a spell that drained the both of them. Basically it ended up exploding on them and taking everything around it with them. Cael got locked in a fight with Aeron, I...I was tied up in another fight, I couldn't help at all. It looks like he sliced open his calf I'm not sure how he got the other injuries." Cael’s face was pretty badly beaten up with blood caked over his face and with light burns over patches of his body he was not in good shape by any means.
"We need to get him back to the castle, can you go get a surgeon and meet me there? God dammit Cael, you've gone and done it now." Cael made no move or sound as Tyron picked him up in his arms again, pulling him away from Evelynn. Calling a soldier over, he gave him orders to make his way to the caves to summon the townspeople to help put out the fire before with a final nod to Evelynn he started towards the castle.
Aeron watched the chaos and panic that now consumed his men. Realizing the effort was futile he called for a retreat and rounding up his men they emptied from the city. He could see the fire spreading into the forest around them as they left; some men he noticed even began to encourage the flames. He had lost the vast majority of his men and those that remained were wary and beaten to the point of exhaustion. His men cursed his name as they climbed to the peak of the valley but Aeron was distracted instead by a sound he had heard only described to him before. The men froze wondering what now they would be faced with but Aeron looked up, and saw only blackness framed by a maw full of razor sharp teeth.
Moments later Tyron had made his way up to the castle and was laying Cael on his bed when Evelynn rushed in with the surgeon in tow. Glancing at the wound to his calf, the man confirmed what Tyron had suspected. He would have to have surgery and it would be a long road to recovery. The doctor immediately began to clean Cael up starting with his face which looked like one of his cheek bones had been crushed in on top of a broken nose. Sticking cloth up his nose to stop the bleeding and making sure his throat was clear so he could breath, he then briefly checked his shoulder before moving onto his calf.
The surgery took a few hours, having to slice open has calf even more so he could pull the tendon back down so he could reconnect it and then slowly sewing everything closed, all the while disinfecting to stem the possibility for infection...Tyron asked how long it would be for Cael to fully recover and looking solemn the doctor gave him possibly 7 months if not more. It was possible he would always have a limp in that leg for the rest of his life. Unable to stay, Tyron asked Evelynn to stay with him while he went to see to the men and reluctantly, he left to oversee the fire control.
Cael would remain knocked out for the next couple of hours and when he eventually did wake up, he could feel that he was under the influence of some pretty heavy drugs. With a groan he tried to adjust himself and felt his body complain with the effort. His cheek swelled painfully and reaching up he could see that his arms were patched with cotton over unseen wounds. Noting the redness around the fabric he deduced that he had somehow been burned after the duel.
After Tyron had asked her to stay with Cael, she responded with; "I was planning on doing that even if you had not asked me." She sat with him hours upon hours, holding his left hand in her own two hands. But the day had taken its toll on her, and she had fallen asleep a few hours into the waiting.
Looking around Cael looked disoriented for a moment and unable to sit up he was somewhat confined to where he lay. Looking down though he saw Evelynn still holding his hand, her head rested on the bed and she looked positively exhausted to him. Resting his head back against the pillow he slipped his hand out of hers and gently began stroking her hair before looking up at the ceiling and wincing as he felt his calf spasm in pain.
Cael's spasm shook Evelynn slightly and she woke up. Still a little confused after just waking up, she looked around but quickly recalled where she was when she could feel Cael's hand on her head. She turned her head towards him and saw that he was in pain. Evelynn knew that she couldn't do anything to lessen the pain so she just reached out towards his cheek that was not swollen and stroked it gently and laid her other hand on his chest. Once the pain died down, she asked him; "How are you feeling? Part from the obvious, can you feel your foot?" She looked at him worriedly, fearing that he might have gotten completely limp. At least if he could feel the pain in the foot and calf, it would mean that there was a chance to recover.
"Is that a rhetorical question?" He tried to make light of the situation but the pain on his face betrayed him this time. Looking down as he wiggled his toes he sighed. "Yeah I can feel my foot. How are you doing? You didn't get hurt at all did you?"
She made a sigh of relief before she answered him. "I'm all right, physically, just tired. But my chest and mind is hurting. I saw too much death today. Too much suffering.....and then your stricken form. I-I feared the worst when I first saw you, but you were still alive, and that is always a good thing. Even if you are hurt, you are at least alive" she smiled at him. "I don't know what I would do if you had died....." When she had seen him wounded like that, and when she had watched over him, she had realised, that she loved him. She did not like what it took for her to realise it, but now she knew what she felt. "But you are alive, and that is what matters" tears started flowing from her eyes as she smiled. "Get some rest now; you need to sleep to get better." Evelynn stood up and bent over before giving him a deep kiss. "Please don't scare me like that again."
Against his control his heart flew into his throat for that moment when she kissed him, she had a different edge to her he noticed as if something between them had suddenly shifted....whatever it was, he knew it was going to be something worthwhile. All too soon she pulled away and suddenly being unable to sit up became a matter of great annoyance to him. "I don't think it's fair to take advantage of someone who is incapable of moving..." He gave her a small smile before adding. "I promise I will try....ok?" Reaching up he at least was able to brush away the tears from her eyes.
"Your last attempt at trying not to get hurt failed pretty bad, so I guess I'll have to keep you under surveillance from now on" she said and smiled. "And I guess I have to protect you from now on, instead of getting protected all the time, and there is no way you'd be able to talk me out of it either." Evelynn lowered her face and kissed him again, this time, a long kiss so that all her feelings for him would be transmitted by that one kiss.
"That sounds miserable," He replied with heavy sarcasm before he heard the second part. "What, wait, no! There's no way I'd-" Aaaaand whatever his argument was quickly faded from his mind as she distracted him with a kiss. He recognized the urgency in her movements and the unspoken emotions, it was enough to immediately pull him into the moment and respond in turn. Reaching up to place a hand on her cheek, he pulled her into a deeper kiss and lost himself to his own emotions for a moment. Reluctantly he pulled away after what seemed like ages, but was really only a few moments, and resting his head against his pillow he tried to resist the exhaustion that was threatening to overcome him in that moment.
Evelynn stroked his cheek and said; "Rest, give in to it. I'll be nearby, I won't go away" she tuck him in. "Besides, if I left you now, my whole surveillance remark would fail, would it not?" she asked jokingly, trying to brighten up his mood before she lied down next to him on the big bed that used to belong to her parents. "I'll keep you company, so, rest now" she said and grasped his hand lightly in her own before she laid her head on a pillow and closed her eyes.
Giving in finally, Cael slipped into what would prove to be a very deep sleep, lasting well into the next afternoon. When he did eventually wake up, the first thing he did was try to move and finding that he could at least sit up now he very gently swung his legs over the edge of the bed and set his feet on the ground. Glancing behind him he could see Evelynn was still fast asleep and he couldn't help but smile at seeing her hair in such disarray from tossing and turning in her sleep.
Testing his feet we slowly tried to stand with the help of one of his bedposts, his calf protested but as long as he didn't flex it, he found standing was manageable. Looking around he spotted a cane the doctor had left for him propped against a chair...he stared irritated at it knowing that it would probably be something he would need to use for a long while before he could walk on his own. Growling softly he hobbled over to the chair and sat down, giving up on the idea of walking for now. It still felt good to sit up at least...
After a moment or two of sitting he was stuck in a dilemma...either he took the cane and went off to go find Tyron and probably get stuck, he didn't feel like he was going anywhere in a hurry let alone would get very far, or he was stuck here waiting for either Evelynn to wake up or for someone to come check on him. Staring at the ceiling for a moment he shook his head in frustration before deciding to hobble back over to the bed. With a grunt he sat down and propped himself up against the headboard and sighed. Unfortunately, he realized, it was something he was just going to have to get used to...
Evelynn was having a bad dream, Cael died in it and she tossed in her sleep before banging her head into the headboard, waking up. Confused and in pain, Evelynn looked around. She did not find Cael at the position she remembered and got worried, but then she saw him sitting against the same headboard she just banged into. She grunted a "good morning" and held her head. "I was a little worried that you'd be out walking around, but it looks like you've not even touched the cane. I am proud of you Cael" she said and smiled even as Cael visibly shrunk down into himself with each word but he didn't correct her. "What ti-" she saw the fading light from outside and her mouth fell open. "Whaa....afternoon? How long?....." Before she could figure out how long they had been asleep, a rumbling could be heard from her stomach. "Hungry........" She got up from the bed. "Wait here, I'll get us something to eat." She knew that his throat was all right, and that his arms were only burnt, so he should be able to eat without any real problems.
She left the room and walked over to the kitchen and prepared some soup. "*Sigh* He is going to be all right, don't worry Evelynn." Despite the looks she got from the staff due to her unkempt hair and knowing what had happened to Cael, plus the fact that she had not returned to her own room that night, they did not interfere nor did they ask any questions. Once she was done, she walked over to the room again, tray in hand and sat it down on the night stand before she pulled the chair in close. She took one of the spoons into her hand, filled it with soup and said; "Open up Cael."
He looked at her frowning. "You don't have to do that...really." For good measure he moved his arms around. A staring contest ensued and when he realized that resistance was futile he opened his mouth so she could shove the food in, feeling a bit on the ridiculous side. This went on for a while until eventually he had to genuinely decline any more of the soup before it made him sick even when he had only eaten half of the bowl.
Chewing had been slightly painful, with his face being as swollen as it was. Resting his head against the headboard he heard the door open and glancing over, saw Tyron walk in with a sympathetic smile. "Hey Tyron,"
"Shit man, you look like hell. How do you feel though?"
Laughing hollowly he replied, "Like hell. So what happened after I blacked out?"
"You sure you're feeling ok enough?" When Cael nodded he shrugged and told him all that had happened. How Able and the enemy magician had slipped into a spell they couldn't control and it backfired on the both of them. "The explosion took out probably a fourth of town and fire damaged maybe another fourth. But it spread to the forest...it took out the forest for probably miles around. That and the pass out of the valley are blocked off. We're not sure if they did it on purpose or not when they left the valley but the pass is blocked probably until spring thaw. The fire reached right up to the pass it looks like either the avalanche was an accident or they didn't care to wait for the rest of their allies. We found some of their charred remains at the gate to the pass."
"Word got out about your injuries though, my impression? I think the town is relieved and grateful to be alive, the damage aside I get the feeling that they feel the damage would have been worse if Evelynn's father had led their armies. No offence by the way," He added towards the end. "Even before the explosion we had begun to push their forces back towards the wall, the explosion was just the last straw that broke their discipline and they scattered."
Cael listened carefully while resting still against the headboard and laughing softly he smiled. "How are repairs coming then if the forest was burned down?" Tyron explained that they had started a small supply train to and from the nearest intact forest in an effort to fuel reconstruction. "You can give me a medal later for covering for your ass. Next time don't go and get yourself so beat up all right? Otherwise I might decide I'm the better leader and kick you out." Smiling he embraced Cael's hand and then pointing at Evelynn before leaving, "I don't care what he says, his ass stays in bed."
"Like he have a choice in the matter" Evelynn grinned at Tyron. "I won't let him get out of this bed for some time. I even asked one of the maids to bring a potty for him. And I won't let him out of my sights; I'll make sure he stays in bed."
"Remember when you used to complain about your parents being overbearing? This is me doing the same..."
"Those are different matters entirely. You are wounded, I was just a princess."
"So what am I supposed to do, just piss over the side of the bed???" He was furiously beside himself and to make it worse he could hear Tyron laughing it up as he walked down the hall.
"I.......Don't argue with me! You stay in bed, end of story."
He raised an eyebrow at her before slowly...very slowly swinging his legs over the side of the bed.
"Where do you think you're going, Cael?" Evelynn asked him before she stopped his legs movement.
He was about to reply somewhere along the lines of she would have to sit on him to some capacity in order to keep him there but he came up short when he caught sight of her neck. She still had blood caked along the cut he had put there, wincing he reached up to place a hand over the cut. "Why didn't you get this taken care of?"
"Huh?" She said dumbfounded before she realised what he meant with it. "Do you really think I would leave your side for this small cut? It's already healing anyway, there is no need for concern. Your injuries are a lot worse, I can't be thinking about myself right now." She swiped his hand away from the cut.
Pausing for a moment he then used his good leg and upper body strength to skip his body over to the other side of the bed out of her reach, holding his bum leg up in the air out of the way.
Ignoring her he slowly stood up putting all of his weight on his good foot. "Just so you know, if you were to try and stop me now I'd probably fall over. Don't worry I'm not going anywhere adventurous." He hopped on one leg over to the sink and grabbed one of the towels there and began to soak it in water. "Humour me just this once." Wringing out the excess water he hopped back over to the bed and sat down before hopping back over to her side in much the same fashion that he had escaped.
Ignoring her furious glare he reached up and began wiping away the blood. The cut was shallow, she was right. It wasn't anything to worry about by a long shot but still...the event still bothered him and he felt that taking care of her at this point was his starting point for moving on.
Once he started to wipe away the blood from her neck, her furious stare turned into a kinder, milder one. "You fool," she muttered "there was no need to risk further injury for me." She grasped his wrist and stopped him; "Please, don't, don't risk your health for a small cut like that." She noticed the determined look in his eyes, and let his wrist go again.
"You're worth risking a lot of things." Changing which end of the cloth he was using for a more damp area he continued to clean away the blood. "Injury between the bed and the sink I think was not a risk, but still." Satisfied that the cut was clean he pulled his hand away and leaning forward he kissed an area of skin next to the cut. "I will think more of taking care of myself but only if you promise to do the same. Is that fair?"
She sighed softly and leaned in close, kissing him softly. She could not stop the feelings bubbling inside of her and grabbed his shoulders. She felt a small wince of pain being transmitted through his lips and quickly backed off. "I'm sorry......" she looked a bit sad and hung her head. "I promise....to take better care of myself" she said with a voice full of guilt. "I....caused him even more pain."
"Hey," With his hand he made her look up at him as he smiled. "Come here real quick. Let me hold you." He pat the empty space next to his good shoulder.
Evelynn hesitated a little before she did as he asked and sat down next to him. She guessed that he wanted her to lean in on him...but she was worried...what if he suffered?
Interrupting whatever thoughts she was wrestling with at the moment he reached over and pulled her in still smiling. "Stop it. Whatever you're thinking right now quit it. All right?"
She nodded slowly and rested her weight against him; it felt, good for some reason; just resting against the man she loved, trusting him to care for her. She closed her eyes and said; "I really love you Cael. Just so you know, so don't you dare leave my side again."
Cael felt a sense of calm spread through him as she spoke such as he had never felt before, he felt a compulsive smile spread across his face and leaving forward he kissed her head softly. "I love you too, and I don't plan on it. I already lost you once," He took her hand in his as he looked down and drew circles on the back of her hand with his thumb. Dismissing some bothersome thoughts he pulled her in close and kissed her head again.
An immense feeling of relief flowed through her body, it was mutual love. She had suspected it, but.......she had never been sure, neither of her own feelings or his. With her eyes still closed she turned her face upwards so that her lips were just a little distance away from his, or where she thought they were. Her eyes still closed, she trusted him entirely, and she had kissed him a lot lately, she thought it was his turn now.
Leaning forward to close the small distance, his lips met hers and in that moment he let himself go. Kissing her again, and again, and again it was a moment he didn't want to let go of as he felt his heart surge with their new found emotions. Wrapping his arms around her he held her close and eventually trace his lips from the corner of her mouth to the base of her ear. Giving a final kiss against her forehead he rested his head back down, burying his face in her hair.
They lay there for a few moments, enjoying the emotions. Eventually though the severity of it began to slowly wear off leaving them with simply a happy mood at being able to be there, enjoying each other. Cael however would be the one to break the silence with a soft laugh. "You know what this means though eventually." When she looked up at him with a raised brow at being disturbed he smiled. "Eventually we get to tell your parents."
Her mind turned blank. "My parents..........." She had totally forgotten about them since before the battle. "Lets........wait a bit before telling them........My father wanted you dead....and I supported you when you confronted him in the throne room.....He might think that you seduced me or something strange........He is weird like that....."
"Who's to say I didn't seduce you though?" He teased pretending to be proud of his achievement.
She gave him a light push in the chest for his remark.
Laughing he continued. "You know it's what they're all going to think. I'm sure the maids are already talking about how scandalous we are this very minute."
She covered his mouth with her hand. "Don't talk, shush.......I don't want to think about that right now, you're ruining my good mood."
He couldn't help himself, he laughed for a good few moments before wrestling his head out of her grasp. "I didn't realize listening to me talk was such a painful experience for you."
"If you talk about that topic, it is" she sighed. "Now, change topic, kiss me or be quiet and let me enjoy the moment."
He sat there for a moment, honestly thinking how he could do the most damage by changing the subject. "We could always talk about how I want 9 kids. How's that for a topic change?"
She stared at him full of murderous intent. "If you say one more word, I'll punch you. Seriously Cael, you skipped past the whole marriage thing and went straight for the kid’s topic........."
"You said you didn't want to talk about it!!!" He defended.
"Cael" she warned, "one more word, and I'll delay your recovery by a least one month."
"I'm already driving you nuts in bed. Do you really want to confine me to it for any longer than you have to?"
"So, if we ever got into the whole kids thing, where do you think we would make them? I'll confine you to the bed a long as I want to" she said with scorn in her voice before she got up from the bed. "You ruined my good mood" she said and sat in the chair and grabbed the cane.
Even as she began sitting he was already sliding slowly out of bed.
"CAEL!" she was furious with him now. "Lie down or face the consequences of your actions."
She got up from the bed and poked his chest with the cane, putting some force behind it. "Lie, down!"
Grabbing the cane he pulled her towards him right along with it. Stealing a small kiss he let her go before lying down looking every little bit like the boy she had grown up with in that moment as he smiled at her. "Fine,"
She was visibly shaking in anger after the kiss but she calmed down instantly as she recognized the expression, the carefree attitude, the Cael she knew from before. "*Sigh* How can I be mad at you now? I give up" she said and plopped down onto the bed.
Cael laughed as she surrendered and sat down on the bed. Leaning back against the headboard again he got stuck watching her face as he thought. His mind went back to when they had met under the castle wall when he had been making a delivery. Thinking back now he had probably come across her as she was trying to sneak out, not caring though he had brought her home and they had played all afternoon.
Next memory they were a few years older and he had been teasing her with a huge bullfrog he had found after they had had a large rainstorm. His mind filtered through numerous memories like these and each one made him smile.
Her previously bad mood was all gone and replaced with a kind smile as Evelynn saw Cael smile. "I guess I am too easy on you after all" she said and lied down next to him, her head resting against his stomach. "You really are despicable sometimes Cael."
"Despicable or not, it got me here. Sorry if I've been a little giddy..."
"A little?" she asked and raised a brow. She sighed and rolled over onto her stomach; "Whatever should I do with you...hmmm?"
"I'll blame it on the medicine," Yawning he absent-mindedly began stroking her hair again.
"You really like to stoke my hair....You're making it worse than it already is....." she said a little annoyed and started ruffing around Cael's hair as payback.
"Sorry, I don't realize I'm doing it half of the time." He reached up to straighten out his hair but made very little effort.
"We must look really silly doing this from an outside perspective" she said and laughed a little.
"Yeah well there's a reason the door is closed."
"Are you sure Tyron isn't standing there, laughing at us? I think he is to be honest."
"Nosey he may be, but not rude. He has enough girlfriends to know if he ever tried something like that he'd regret it down the road."
Evelynn smiled warmly at Cael. "This day has really been wasted, don't you think? It's already evening and we've only been up for a few hours." She looked outside as the sun was setting. "But one good thing happened, at least."
"I wouldn't call today wasted. Not at all, low key and a bit on the lazy side, but definitely not wasted." Yawning he felt like he had been up for nearly three times longer than he had been in reality. He had a feeling this was how his days were going to be for a while now...short and full of sleep, at least for now.
Cael's yawn was contagious as Evelynn yawned shortly after and snuggled up close to him. "I want to sleep like this, just for one night at least" she said dreamily and laid one of her arms across Cael's chest before closing her eyes, feeling somewhat akin to bliss. "I hope these quiet days can continue for a while. No wars, no fighting, just the two of us."
"Well you'll at least have me for the next couple of months assuming I'll be mostly bed ridden. I don't plan on starting any more trouble in the future so perhaps...for now you may just get your wish." Wrapping his arm around her shoulder he closed his eyes and let himself start to drift. "I love you,"
The days went by slowly for Cael at times. Evelynn managed to keep him grounded for two weeks before he tried to make his escape. Getting as far as the throne room, he learned the meaning of "in the dog house," that night thanks to Evelynn. Two months later Cael still wasn't sure that she had forgiven him for that yet even though it was the week after, that he managed to negotiate for some time outside. Most of the time when there were affairs that required his attention they were brought to his room, Tyron would tease but for Cael decided that to a small extent, Evelynn was right. At least for the first month that was the case.
Two months after the battle, repairs to the town had nearly been complete and Cael could be seen hobbling around the castle during the day with the cane that he quickly came to detest. Evelynn eventually went back to sleeping in her own room when Cael's teasing’s about the castle staff talking about the affair actually became true. That fact was largely how he had managed to get away with being somewhat on the move again but he stayed confined to the castle. Every other week he would open the doors to anyone who sought an audience with him, he felt like this was important because not only did it make him more visible, but it also made him personable to the everyday person.
Repairs to the town were nearly complete at this point, and the explosions that had been set off during the battle had inadvertently opened up a new ore belt leading to a sudden surge in mining activity and wealth. For while Everett was now no longer a trading partner, still the towns to the south relied heavily on Oakhurst for their ore and minerals.
Having only just finished a day in which he held council with anyone who approached the throne, Cael felt exhausted from the whole ordeal. The days where he was active took a heavy toll on him but each day seemed to be better than the next he noticed. Reaching for the cane he kept hidden behind the throne he heaved himself onto his feet before making his way to the dining hall where he knew dinner would be waiting and probably Evelynn who recently had taken to bickering with Tyron to pass the time.
"Tyron, pass me the sauce you scoundrel" Evelynn was fighting with Tyron about food again. "Why can you never share your food Tyron? You don't have to hog it all to yourself."
Tyron nodded furiously with a full mouth before swallowing. "Actually I do, see these?" He patted his arm muscle. "They don't grow themselves." Picking up the sauce he dumped most of it on his plate until he was satisfied and then passed the bowl with a small layer still clinging to the bottom. Dipping a chicken wing into the sauce he took a huge bite as Cael walked in looking amused as he waved his half eaten wing at him. "Having fun are we?" Cael asked taking his seat next to Evelynn.
"Oh yes, very much so" Evelynn said and snatched Tyron's plate away when he was busy with waving the chicken around. "Thank you for pouring the sauce for me Tyron, it was very kind of you." Evelynn held onto the plate with her hands before she kissed Cael on the cheek and then put the plate down, just to make sure that Tyron could not steal it back while she was busy. "Your, right hand man, is a greedy one. He claims that he has muscles to feed, but I don't see any. I think he is just like a sweet little child that want more than he is given."
"He has muscles to feed though...*bro fist bump* granted he doesn't always have to be so greedy about what he eats." The look of betrayal was clear in Tyron's expression. "Thank you so much by the way for saving some potatoes for me." Glancing around Cael saw that there was absolutely none to be found and instead reached across to take Tyron’s plate and scrape half of his helping off onto his own plate.
"I figured they could whip some more up by the time you were done in the hall. You had a short day today though it seems." Tyron waved his spork before stabbing some cooked carrots with it.
"Thankfully yes. I think the initial wave of those excited about the prospect of seeking an audience is slowly dying away. They're starting to really only bring the serious matters forward now. At least it's been a few weeks since I've had a father ask which man his daughter should marry, I'll take that as a good sign." Tyron snorted slightly. Some of the problems people had been bringing forward initially had ranged from seeking compensation for damages caused from the battle to which crop a farmer should replant his fields with. Humorous at times it may have been, he recognized the importance of it.
"I told you ruling was boring, Cael" Evelynn said before she swatted away Tyron's hand from stealing food of her plate. "But I guess that idiot makes the whole thing worth it" she pointed her spork towards Tyron. "He is a good tool for releasing built up stress." She passed on what remained on her plate to Cael. "Eat, you've barely had any," she glanced at Tyron "due to that one." Evelynn smiled "Do you want me to feed you Cael" she asked teasingly. "I know that you enjoy it sooooo much."
Shaking his head he smiled as, Cael began pushing around the contents on his plate. "No thank you." Listening as Tyron and Evelynn continued their bickering he smiled, taking a few bites but not really eating a whole lot he stood up when one of his advisors came around the corner and beckoned to him. Most of the old advisors to the King had left the castle as soon as Cael had taken power save for a select few. These few he found, were the ones that truly were devoted to the town and the people and risking their lives and their families they stayed with the hopes that Cael would be a gracious King and they be allowed to stay. Seeing this he immediately seized upon their talents and had used them to the best of his abilities.
This individual in particular was named Athrun and he had proven to be a valuable asset in the form of intelligence now that Tyron was so consumed with running the army and other affairs. Leaving the table he shook his hand when he reached him near a window overlooking the town. In whispers he talked about news from one of the towns to the south still with connections to Everett. They told of reinforcements being implemented to the port city and a compulsory recruitment now being imposed on the male population. Their forces weakened, Cael knew they were in no position to attack. They, like he, were making preparations in case the other was foolish enough to attempt an attack again. Discussing a few more matters, Athrun eventually dismissed himself with a bow leaving Cael standing looking out the window.
When Athrun had entered the room and Cael left the table, Evelynn had started to stare at the two men. "*SIgh* I guess he can never have any real peace after all." Once Athrun left, Evelynn walked up to Cael; "I know that look, trouble?" she asked as she stood beside him and looked out towards the town with him.
"Of the mild kind,' He looked at her with a small grin. "Did I tell you I saw your father today?" They still hadn't told her parents yet of course.
She sighed at the mention of her father. "No, you did not Cael. However, I did talk to him myself today. He still insists that I should keep you under watch and warn him and mother if you tried anything. I don't he'll ever trust you fully." She turned and looked at Cael. "You did take his throne after all, and he banished you before that." She sighed again; "I hope he'll come to trust you one day." She kissed his cheek; "And I am not saying that just because I love you, but because you've proven to be a good ruler."
His grin spread into a smile. "I love you too," Leaning forward he planted a brief but loving kiss on her lips, hearing a strange noise behind him he turned around though to see Evelynn's mother standing in the door way her eyes wide and clutching the door frame...."Well that's oddly convenient and inconvenient at the same time."
Evelynn had closed her eyes when Cael leaned in for the kiss and wrapped her arms around his neck, wanting a deeper kiss, but Cael turned around and looked towards the door. "Cae--?" Evelynn looked towards where Cael was staring only to see her mother standing there. "Oh........shit"
Tyron reached slowly for his mug of ale and sipped, quietly watching.
She quickly separated from Cael "H-hello mother" she stammered and waved towards her mother. She elbowed Cael with her other arm and whispered; "Say something, damn it."
Caught by surprise for a moment he waited to see Evelynn's reaction. He chuckled as she elbowed him and turned around to face her. "How about, I don't care?" Tipping her chin up towards him he pulled her back in and picked up from where they left off as Tyron howled in the background, reaching for another mug.
"Ca-" she was about to complain when he kissed her again. She flailed with her arms, flustered, but her resistance slowly crumbled and she stood there, accepting the kiss. "Oh, damn it all, she had to find out sooner or later" she thought before she kissed him back. She pulled back from the kiss shortly after. "Mother, I.....love Cael" her face beet red. "I have now for some time, I am sorry for not telling you."
Cael watched as Evelynn's mother struggled to find her words as her mouth opened and closed a few times. Finally she seemed to regain her composure and walked towards the two of them and pulling her arm back she gve Cael a good slap to the face. Surprised Cael could tell she held back, "If you plan on kissing my daughter like that in public you better be prepared to back up your actions. Do you understand?"
That caught Cael's attention immediately and he nodded furiously afraid to really say anything least she decided to slap him with her full force.
Looking to Evelynn she looked sad. "I don't approve. But I'm beginning to see a bright side to much that has happened...give us time. Especially your father." Glancing furiously at Cael she emphasized. "I don't approve." This caused Cael to shrink a few inches.
"Mother, I....." her words died in her mouth. She knew, that her father would be very mad at her, and from the looks of things, her mother was not happy either. Finally she steeled herself an said; "I am prepared for whatever you and father have in mind. I love Cael, and I can't stop myself from doing so either. It's true that I've known him since before he became the King, but I grew to love him afterwards. Please don't think anything strange, and convince father not to do anything foolish. I am prepared to protect him, even from father and mother. But.......I hope it never comes to that. I hope that we all can come to understand each other for who we are and not for who our ancestors were."
"I would much rather build on what is being done now than what has happened in the past. We can only keep looking forward." Leaning forward he kissed Evelynn's forehead, increasingly aware of the two holes that were being drilled into the back of his head. But it didn't stop him, placing a hand on her shoulder briefly, he walked away leaving her with her mom who seemed adamant to stay put.
Meanwhile he would go deal with Tyron.
Her mother watched Cael leave before turning her attention to her daughter. Her one and only precious daughter, she thought as she cupped her face in between her hands. "It is clear in your eyes that you're being honest, but tell me. How did you know him from before?"
"I...met him as a child. The first time that I snuck out of the castle. I got lost, and he found me in an alley, crying. He took me home and played with me for the entire day, and every time I snuck out after that, it was to meet up with him and friends I gained from playing with him. He never knew that I was the princess until we met again just a few months ago, I kept it hidden. He was my first, and best, friend. I only knew him by name, Cael, not who he was, nor whom his parents and grandparents were, until I was told by you. I supported him when he came to father, due to that I trusted him to take care of us and not harm us. And I knew that if father had refused, Cael could have taken the throne anyway, by force, and I wanted to avoid that."
"My dear, have you ever considered that he's using you to support his claim to the throne?" Her mother looked concerned. "How can you be so sure that he didn't change during those years apart?"
"I did fear that at first. When I found out that he knew about his past, I asked him quite a few questions. I was there when he talked to Everett on a magic mirror, asking about us. They told him that he, more or less, should kill us, but he refused and even defected from Everett's service. I even offered myself as a hostage. I thought it would be better not to resist when he had all of his men nearby. But he refused my offer and let me go and do what I thought was best, and that was to convince father to give up the throne without bloodshed. I might not like him all the time, but he is my father after all. I would had defended him if I needed to. I trust him, not because I love him, but I trust him for who he is."
Her mother side glancing over towards Cael. "I'm glad to know these things, however I fear it will do little to alleviate my fears. Be careful my daughter. An unguarded heart is prone to being stepped on." Reaching forward to stroke her CHEEK once more, she walked away leaving her alone.
"She took it, surprisingly well, I must say." Evelynn glanced towards her mother’s retreating figure before she left the room herself, in search for Cael. She found him talking to Tyron in the throne room and she waited for Tyron to leave.
"I was just saying Cael should lock them in the dungeon and be done with it." Tyron was still eating an apple as he spoke, Cael sat in his throne resting his head on his hand while glaring up at Tyron un-amused.
"HEY! Those are my parents you're talking about you bastard!" Evelynn could not stand idle and wait any longer and marched up to Tyron and slapped him.
Tyron stopped her first strike with ease but was unprepared for when Evelynn wheeled her other hand around and received a sharp slap to the face. Cael watched unmoving but with a smile on his face now.
"How the hell do you even know what we're talking about? I could be talking about prisoners. You don't even know..." He stood there rubbing his CHEEK painfully. "So much for wanting to learn how to fight, you can go find your own teacher now." Cael had taken Evelynn's threat to help protect him seriously two months ago and had immediately asked Tyron to help train her. Seeing that it was probably futile to stop her, he could at least help her be as strong as she could be so he wouldn't worry so much.
"Perhaps I am psychic, perhaps I can read minds?" she said in a very serious tone. She snorted at him; "Who wants you as their teacher anyway? I can probably beat you without any effort anyway. Want to give it a try?"
"You have two months of training and already you think you can beat the commander of an army?" Cael teased a little as he watched.
Evelynn walked forward and kicked him in the nuts, making Tyron double over. "See? Easy."
Cael jerked his legs up defensively as he watched. "You know that's like....the highest on high of unspoken rules you just broke..."
Tyron groaned still hunched over.
Evelynn went around Tyron and gave him a kick in the rear, making him fall onto the floor. "I'd do anything to win, at least if I had to protect you. I was just demonstrating my resolve."
Cael raised an eyebrow as he watched Tyron spin his legs around, causing him to swing onto his back to kick her legs out from beneath her. He climbed to his feet, his face looking red and a little pissed off. "If you're done being pissy. Maybe I'll teach you how not to be over confident."
Evelynn got up again after Tyron's leg sweep. "I am not overconfident, I am just, just in a bad mood" she stood with her knees close together and one hand outstretched, like a lady waiting to get her hand kissed. Her true posture hidden under the dress, waiting for Tyron to make the first move.
Tyron hesitated for a moment and Cael sat up looking wary. "Tyron don-" But it was too late, Tyron stepped forward and in one swift movement grabbed her forearm and stepping past her flipped her completely to land flat on her back. Stepping away he shook his hand feeling the strain from the maneuver.
"Call if what you will," Tyron backed away looking over at Cael. "Do you need anything else?" When he nodded no he began to walk away his shoulders rigid.
Evelynn got up quietly and slipped out a dagger from underneath her dress and quietly started to move closer to Tyron.
"Evelynn..." Cael growled as Tyron vanished behind a doorway. "Back off and leave him alone...really now you sort of just went off the deep end. He's pissed it's obvious."
"Tsk...." she put away the small dagger again. "I hate losing." She walked up to Cael and said; "I guess mother, kind of, accept it. The really hard part will be father. I am not very good at dealing with him." She looked towards the door Tyron had walked out. "Neither am I very good at handling him" she sighed. "I am sorry I lost my temper" she sat down in her old, small throne. "What did you and my father talk about earlier?"
“Just remember that if and when the time comes, Tyron will risk his life not just for me but for you also. I know he can be a pain at times but his intentions are well meant. If needed he would die for either of us without a second thought…”
“We talked about…things.” He said trying to be mysterious for only just a moment. “Mostly he asked about you. I think he was worried I had done something to you seeing as how they hadn’t seen you for a while.”
"So he was worried after all" she sighed. "I've spent so much time with you that I've neglected them. I think that I should spend some more time with them, but I am afraid now that they know about us. I don't know what to do." Evelynn laid her head in her hands and sighed once again. "What should we do about my father Cael?"
"I wouldn't worry too much. It is what it is and...I've actually already taken some steps with the hope that things might work out well. Granted I wasn't expecting them to find out so who knows if he'll still agree." When Evelynn looked at him confused, he shrugged. "When we talked I invited him to treat with me over drinks every week or so. Just to talk...I guess I was hoping to possibly heal some wounds but...who knows if he'll still be open after learning about us. I practically had to pull teeth to get him to agree to it to begin with.'
"I'll.......try to persuade him, but I don't know if I'll be able to do it alone. A part of me don't want to talk to him, and a part of me want to talk to him, and make him accept us. However, I don't know how to convince him. So I am afraid to talk to him about it"
"Lets wait and see what happens tomorrow. Who knows he could show up." He laughed when Evelynn looked over unconvinced. "You never know, maybe he will want a clear shot at killing me again."
"DON'T, say that again" she said loudly and grasped his arm hard. "If he ever tries, I'll beat him myself. I did promise to protect you after all. Even against my father. So don't you dare say that again."
Standing up he stretched before offering Evelynn his hand to pull her to her feet. "The way you act, it's like I actually need protecting. How am I supposed to protect myself from you is my question?"
"What? Don't tell me you've gotten bored of me already" she said with an extremely sad tone. "Do you really want to get away from me that badly? Me and my protection" small tears started forming in her eyes.
He pulled her in close and wrapped his arms around her waist. "On the contrary, I can't get enough of you."
She laid her hands gently on his shoulders and pushed him back down into the throne and kissed him deeply and sat down in his lap. "Since you said that, you got me into a good mood Cael" she said and kissed him again, wrapping her arms around his neck.
“I don’t think I’ll be complaining anytime soon.” Running his hands up her side he let his hand rest against her neck as he kissed her deeply. Going against everything his body was screaming in that moment, he pulled away after a few moments not wanting to cause another scene. “This could be dangerous if you make it a habit.”
"Perhaps..........I want it to be dangerous?" she said and looked at him with upturned eyes. "But....if you don't want to" she started to move away from his lap.
He locked his arms around her waist so she couldn't move away and buried his face in her hair so that his lips brushed the spot just behind her ear. "You didn't wait for my response."
"So what is your response the Cael?" she asked and put one arm around his neck. "Come on, spit it out, don't leave me hanging like this."
"Perhaps...if you decide to stop by later tonight." His hold on her tighten by a fraction. "We might find something to do."
"Perhaps I will" she said and kissed him again before getting up. "I'll see you later, Cael" she stroked his cheek and left the room. Returning to her own room, Evelynn took a bath before she sat down on her bed. "I wonder how tonight will turn out" she wondered before she flopped down on her back. "I wonder what is going through Cael's mind right now. Perhaps he is thinking about the same thing that I am." She laid in her bed, thinking about it for a while until the dinner bell rang and she made her way back to the dining hall.
Cael waited for a few minutes before eventually getting up to walk out of the throne room in search for Tyron. There was some time before dinner and he hoped that Tyron had had ample time to cool off since then. Eventually the found him outside towards the back of the gardens oddly enough. Cael didn't really come out here that much even though the staff kept it well attended although he had seen Evelynn's mom wander through from time to time.
The garden stretched back right up against the mountains and sat somewhat on a cliff overlooking the town, it was standing toe to toe on the edge that Cael found Tyron looking out over the valley smoking away. "Sorry," Tyron greeted.
"For dropping your girlfriend like a rock."
Cael laughed softly as he lit his own pipe. "As much as I love her she did push your buttons a little too hard. To be honest I think you both over reacted."
After a few moments went by Tyron began to look annoyed again. "She just gets under my skin sometimes." "Yeah well you let her. Think of her as the sister you never had."
Tyron looked over at him quizzically. "Sister eh? Did you guys talk about it yet?"
"No, I doubt I will for a while. Especially after today, too much happ-"
"Oh whoa, look there's a mountain tiger!" Tyron interrupted pointing out into the valley. "Just there by the large oak."
Squinting Cael could only just make out the outline of the creature, thanks largely to its' white coat. "Huh, interesting, I wonder what brought him down from the mountains."
They were distracted by the sound of the bell calling for dinner. Cael convinced Tyron to go with him and off they went back downstairs to the dining hall.
Evelynn was already seated at the table and had just put some food on her and Cael's plates when they both entered the room. She smiled a little embarrassed towards Cael and gave Tyron a nod. She picked up her sprok and knife and slowly started eating. "You took unusually long time to get here today Tyron. You are usually here even before me. What took you so long?"
"We were just talking," Cael supplied as he took a seat next to her and Tyron in his usual place accross from them. "We saw a tiger poking through the ashes in the valley, we got a little distracted."
She gave him a bored look; "That joke is not even funny, Can't you come up with something better for a change? Your jokes are always so boring. You'd THINK that you could come up with something............." She turned towards Tyron; "What really happened? Let me guess, bathroom?"
Tyron looked up as he was filling his plate. "Actually we're not joking. There was a white tiger, it looked like it had come down from the mountains. It was just sitting there poking around through the ashes."
"Come on, seriously guys?.........." But she saw that they were honest in their eyes. "What was it doing there? It's rare to see one at all, and even so, one in the town? That have to be like, one in a million chance of ever happening, or less" she sighed. "This day keeps getting stranger and stranger mixed in with good things, but still strange things."
"You have no idea," Cael winked at her before taking a bite and smiled. "Probably was just driven down from the mountains looking for food. We've had a pretty dry winter so far."
"I wonder if we should feed it. It might get attached to us. I've always wanted a pet tiger" Evelynn said the last bit dreamily and looked towards one of the windows. "What do you think Cael? Would you also like to have a pet tiger?"
Cael looked unsure as to if she was kidding or not. "Not...particularly. I don't think feeding it would be a good idea either. Chances are a hunter will get to it anyways before you did."
"I guess you're right, besides, I don't think that they could be domesticated. But a girl can dream can't she?" Evelynn said with a smile. "I was never allowed to have a pet, but a tiger would just be overkill" she turned and looked towards Cael again, "especially after that incident.." Evelynn laughed softly; "I wonder how much more my parents can take. I think my mother would have a heart attack if I brought a tiger indoors. Do you think the hunters will kill it or just drive it away? It would be a shame if they did kill it, tigers are such beautiful creatures."
"Some fool will probably kill it no doubt. This far into the valley it's not going to find much to eat after the fire so it wouldn't last long anyways if it decided to stick around." Tyron mused.
"You're right, it's probably not going to find much food, but we can't just kill it, not unless it attacks someone, animals have the right to live as well." Once Evelynn had finished her meal, she walked up to a nearby window and scanned for the tiger. "I hope it'll make it alone out there. I wonder if it's family died in the fire or if it's just looking for food while the others stay back."
Cael finished eating while Tyron was only halfway through. Walking over to Evelynn he came up to hold her from behind and kissed her neck softly. "What are you thinking?
"I was thinking about the tiger" she said and rested her elbows on the windowsill. "I was just hoping that it would survive." Evelynn turned so that she faced Cael. "Sooo....what should we do today?"
"You could stop worrying about the tiger and worry about me for a start." He rested his hands on her hips and smiled at her. "I've been up on my feet all day and you haven't complained once. That's not exactly the protective Evelynn I know."
"Haven't you complained now for over two months about me protecting you?" she grinned at him. "So you want me to take care of you like my little child after all?" she patted his head lightly. Evelynn grasped his hand and lead him towards the table before she sat down. "Sit Cael" she said and patted her lap.
"That's just plain creepy....."
"Now, now, don't misbehave, sit."
He dropped his hands and began to walk away. "You absolutely killed any chance of anything. Congratulations."
Evelynn got up from the chair and walked up next to Cael. "Aww....sorry dear" she locked hands with him and leaned in close. "I just got into the mood to tease you" she looked up at him with puppy eyes. "Can you forgive me, Cael?"
He looked over at her looking skeptical but then smiled. "I suppose I could." Stroking the back of her hand he walked with her. "So tell me, how do you like not being a princess anymore?"
"It's kind of nice. I can do what I want, see who I want, and I guess, love who I want" she smiled. "And even though I am not the princess any more, I can still be here in the castle with you guys. It's not like my family and I were thrown out into the streets or killed. So I can't really complain."
"Yeah but say you could complain," He smiled as she glanced over at him skeptically. "You're still stuck in the same house you professed you wished to escape just a few months ago."
"I only wanted to escape from the castle due to the princess duties and that I had no friends in the castle. If you are forced into to something, you'll dislike it, but when you are free to choose yourself, you'll like it." Evelynn looked at the walls as they walked along. "I've never liked it here until you guys moved in" she smiled at Cael. "My friends moved into my old house, why should I not be happy about it?" Evelynn stopped and looked Cael in the eyes. "So, what about you? Do you like it here?"
"It looks exactly how it was described to me...I'm happy to be here. I'll....admit I was worried when we first ran into each other again in the throne room. It completely threw everything for a loop for a moment...I think it worked out in the end though." He looked down at her.
"Oh, really? Did you not expect your old friend to be the princess or was it just against what you had planned for the `hostile takeover´?" She slightly tilted her head. "And you almost seem.........never mind."
That made him stop in his tracks. "What?"
She turned her head away and started walking again, pulling Cael's hand. "*Sigh* Never mind, it's nothing, I guess I was mistaken."
"No, it's not nothing ack!" He stumbled as she pulled him forward his calf still not completely healed yet. Grabbing her by the shoulders he turned her towards him. "What is it, tell me."
She could see the pain in his eyes as she looked into them. "Sorry Cael, I did not mean to make your calf any worse." Evelynn stroked his cheek lightly; "Don't worry, please. I just thought that I saw something, off, for a second. But I guess it was nothing, so don't worry."
"Are you really going to keep more secrets from me? I thought you being a princess and not telling me was enough in that department."
Evelynn was a little shocked, almost offended by what Cael just had said. "Fine. Then tell me Cael, do you really like it here? Do you really like ruling? Honestly, I don't think that you enjoy it as much as you let on."
"I will admit that it is different from what I expected." Walking away from her he walked towards a window. "Lately I've been asking myself how I would have felt if the throne had been passed down to me from my father and my answer is always the same...I don't think I would have taken it. I think I've found other reasons though which is why my answer is yes." Looking back at her his eyes smiled. "I do enjoy it."
She sighed; "See....there was no need to worry, I was wrong, you worry too much." She walked up next to Cael and looked out through the window. "I wonder how the months that are to come will be. Will they be peaceful? Will Everett try to attack again? And I wonder how our lives will turn out" she said and turned towards Cael. "Let's make the best out of the time we have, all right?"
"I don't think they'll try to attack again but I don't think this will be the end of the affair either. They rely on us for goods and we rely on them for export to a lesser extent. This trade we have with the southern towns in the valley will keep us going for now but in the long run we'll need to find a solution." He turned to face her, smiling. "What would you have me do then?"
"Against Everett? The only thing there that I can see would be, peace, but that seems unlikely. Even if we depend on each other to a certain extent, they seems to be hell-bent on ruling, not coexisting. But there must be some way to make a compromise. Perhaps have low trading tariffs, I don't know." She smiled back at him; "As for making the best of our time.......we might make some progress on that later today. But part from that, I am happy right now just doing what we do every day, at least for now."
"We'll figure something out...we'll have to come spring time when the pass opens." Taking her hand he pulled her into a hug. "For now? That sounds ominous."
"Yes, but, if Everett stands at the pass at spring wi-" She stopped as Cael pulled her into a hug, which she returned shortly after. "Yes, for now. Doing the same thing for months without end would get tiresome" she gave him a light kiss. "But I am sure we can spice it up somehow. Don't you agree?" she said and rested her cheek against his chest, feeling very secure in the embrace.
"I'm sure we'll manage." He wrapped his arms around her and buried his face in her hair, allowing himself to let go of his worries for a while.
"I wonder what everyone would say if they saw us like this" she said into his chest. "Oh heck, I don't care right now. It feels so nice just standing like this, holding each other."
"Tyron wouldn't say anything, he'd just watch." Cael had to laugh knowing it was probably true.
"He actually is" Evelynn said as she saw Tyron standing in the doorway. "Do you think he want's anything, or that he just likes the show?"
With a sigh he pulled away slowly. "He wants something." Tilting her head towards him he kissed her with a passionate edge that almost bordered desperate. Cael held her there for a few moments before pulling away with an unreadable expression on his face. "I'll come find you later tonight alright?"
"All right" she said with some unease in her voice, but she did not ask about it. "I'll most likely be in my chambers or in the garden, but check my chambers first." She left the two men to their business after she gave a small nod to Tyron and left for her room. "*Sigh* I wonder why Cael seemed so......I don't know" she sighed again. "I'll just sleep on it some. There is nothing to do now anyway."
Cael left his cane at the window and walked freely over to Tyron. When Able died, Cael had been forced to request the services of the magician that had served Evelynn’s father, Derek. Apparently Athrun had been conversing with the man and at his behest they were now on their way to converse a concerning matter with them.
“Did Athrun say what was wrong?” Cael asked.
“No he didn’t. I told him whatever it was could wait until morning…he insisted it couldn’t.”
Tyron led him down a corridor Cael was unfamiliar with before stopping to walk through an oak door. Inside was a room filled with a heavy herbal aroma and not with undue reason. Plants were everywhere, hanging to dry growing in pots but also on the walls were skeletons, odd assortments of beads, knucklebones and things Cael couldn’t identify.
Athrun and Derek were waiting for them inside sitting around a table. Derek didn’t wait, he immediately began talking about what he described as a disturbance and an unease that had been growing on his mind. He explained quickly that magicians depended on different aspects for their power. Some possessed enough energy in their body to draw their power from, others like himself drew the power from their surroundings. And a few even could draw power from the dead; he described this person as a necromancer.
“A month ago I decided to scout the damage that the fire had caused. In the past I’ve pulled most of my energy from the trees, animals, etc; in the area, with that gone it’s accurate to say my capacity to perform magic has been greatly diminished. To what extent though was my reason for exploring the area. I found nothing a month ago other than the extent of the damage. However to check on how the forest was recovering I went out again this morning and found this.” Reaching into his coat he pulled out what looked like a small plate or saucer, black in color. Cael looked up at him unsure of the significance. “It’s a dragon scale. The likes of which have not been seen in generations, a scale of that size only comes from a dragon that is hundreds of years old. Age brings three things to a dragon: size, ferocity and intelligence. They are constantly learning from experience and with each year that passes their anger increases, normally they keep the upper peaks of the mountains there should be no reason why this creature came down from there… “
Cael picked up the scale and held it in his hands; it was surprisingly light for the size. “Assume for a second there was something. It would explain the tiger we saw recently as well.”
“Yes Tyron told me about that. It’s possible; however something that is capable of rousing a dragon is something to be concerned about in my mind.”
“Athrun do we anyone capable let alone willing to scout the high mountains for us?” Tyron asked as he shifted his weight.
“Yes, I have two men stationed in a mountain outpost. I can send word for them to head out immediately. Other than that I really don’t think there’s anything else we can do.”
Cael nodded. “I agree. While I am concerned about the possibility of a dragon in the area he has yet to show his face. We can’t control the animal so we can only prepare for the worst. Was that all you had for me?"
Derek looked perplexed by Cael’s question, clearly he was not responding to the news how the magician thought he would. “Yes that was the bulk of the news.”
The man’s agitated tone was not lost on Cael. “What else would you have me do?” Cael folded his arms behind his back. When Derek didn’t respond he continued. “In the future, I would ask that you not only consider the event but also the response possible before calling on me for an ‘emergency’. I will agree that this is an alarming situation but not something I would have dragged myself down here late at night when all we can do is send a scouting party and kick our gate guards awake.” Derek started to speak but then cut himself off. Cael guessed that news like this would have sent Evelynn’s dad in to a panic fit which was probably why the man had called him down at this hour. However Cael needed people who could think for themselves, not just report what they found. Things like this had popped up all along the way with the King’s old staff and Cael had been forced to deal with it every time. Usually he had done so with a little more patience but as the magician Cael expected more of Derek than he did of others. When Derek finally assured him that there was nothing further to discuss they left.
Tyron walked with Cael for a little before dismissing himself from his friend. Cael made his way to Evelynn’s room since it was the closest and he could feel his leg going stiff. Knocking on the door he walked in slowly looking around for her.
Evelynn had fallen asleep not too long after she lied down in her bed. She was having a dream about the future, a dream of unrest and trouble. She was standing in a sea of blood with a pale face. If she looked down into the blood, she could see faces, faces of people whom have died. Faces of people whom are still alive, but washed in blood. She fell to her knees in the `lake´ and put her hands in front of her face. However, her hands were not her own, not as she recognized them at least. They were oddly shaped and pieces of flesh were hanging off them. Her dream told her that she had killed all those people whom now stared back at her with scornful faces, hatred in their eyes. Evelynn got back on her feet and ran, ran into the void on top of the endless `lake´. She could see a figure in the far distance. She shouted, but no words came out and the figure came no closer no matter how much she ran. Suddenly the landscape changed, she was now in a cave. She looked around her, to her horror, the cave was made out of bone. She turned around and looked the other way, but the cave kept going on and on. When she turned back around again, she was staring into the chest of a person. She looked up to see who it was she were in front of. Slowly she raised her head until she could see the man's face. It was a face she could recognize anywhere, Cael.
He tilted his head and looked at her in confusion, not knowing what she was so distressed about. She tried to speak, but no words came, no matter how much she tried. He leaned forward towards her and smiled. Evelynn closed her eyes for a few seconds and then she opened them again. But what she now saw was not Cael, it was a row of sharp teeth whom was closing in on her face quickly. Just when it was about to bite her, she awoke from a knock at the door. She opened her eyes and saw her usual surroundings, the room she had grown up in. She could feel the cold sweat all over her body from the dream. She looked towards the door and saw Cael standing there. She reached out towards a towel that lay on her nightstand and wiped her face. "Hello Cael. How nice to see you this fine evening." She smiled a somewhat fake smile as she tried to push her recent dream out from her mind.
He smiled at her as he closed the door behind him. “Not so sure about that. What’s wrong? You're white as a sheet.” He walked over to sit down on the edge of the bed.
"Just a bad dream Cael" she smiled weakly. "There is nothing to worry about; it was just a very.....very bad dream." She took a deep breath to calm down and then a few more until she felt calm enough. "So, what did Tyron want?"
Seeing as how she was already freaked out he thought about it for a moment before deciding, “I’ll tell you in the morning.” He picked up the towel and wiped her forehead. “What was the dream about?”
She turned her gaze downwards. "I don't think you want to know Cael, and I think it is for the best if it stays just in my mind. It is enough if just one of us have nightmares." She raised her head again and met his gaze. "Trust me; you're better off not knowing what the dream was about." She had seen how he reacted in battle, the scars that he carried; she did not want to make anything worse.
“You know I don’t like when you keep secrets…” He set the towel down before he lay down next to her, propping his head up with a pillow.
She sighed at his stubbornness before she opened her mouth. "However, this is not a secret, this is just a dream that I've already forgotten, so I can't tell you about it."
"Uh huh..." He replied looking unconvinced. "Alright then." Laying his head down on her pillow he suddenly looked as tired as he felt.
Evelynn turned onto her belly as she peered at his face. "You're surprisingly meek today Cael" she said teasingly. "I was sure you were going to nag at me longer. I guess your meeting with Tyron took a toll on you."
"I got irritated with Derek is all...that and my leg started to get stiff walking up here. I'm just worn out is all." Reaching over he pulled her into his chest in a hug.
"You met with that old mage?" she giggled. "He was my old teacher. He taught me some stuff about magic, but I was never able to use it myself. I don't know if I just can't, or that father ordered him to not show me how to." She nestled close to his chest as he pulled her in close. "You said that you would tell me in the morning, so I won't ask why you met with him now." She stretched her neck and tilted her head a little before giving Cael a kiss on the chin.
“I could show you how.” Smiling when she kissed him he leaned down to kiss the back of her neck. “I’m told, that my family used to be adept magic users but what little attempts I’ve made always leave me exhausted but I could still try and show you if you wanted.”
"Heeh...how lucky, no one from my family what I know of can use magic. But I would love to give it a try, and I think you'd make an excellent teacher." She lay her head against his chest and listened to his heartbeat. It was very calming and soothing compared to her dream. She thought back about what had happened during the day and she remembered one certain thing. But she was unsure if she should mention it since he was so tired. "Oh well, I guess he'll have to remember it himself."
"I'm not saying I'll be much better." He buried his face in the crook of her neck and pulled her in close. "Have I told you I love you today yet?"
"We'll see, we'll see. And you've said it at least once today" she blushed before continuing "we have been too busy kissing and hugging today. And then the business with my mother...." she sighed as she recalled it. "I did not expect her to slap you like that, it was almost amusing though."
"It hurt, how is that amusing?" Pulling back he saw her blush and chuckled before kissing her cheek.
"It was amusing as in the mighty King getting slapped by the former Queen" she said and caught Cael's lips as they retreated from her cheek and kissed them.
Laughing as he kissed her he mumbled something about 'mighty' before placing a hand on her neck and pulling her into a deeper kiss.
Evelynn returned the kiss and finally moved her hands from his chest to his neck and held Cael in a tender grip as she prolonged the kiss for a long time. She finally pulled away, gasping for air; she had forgotten to breathe as she kissed him. Evelynn rolled on top of Cael and poked his cheek lightly. "You're quite aggressive today I must say."