The Price of Vengeance

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Dark of Night

Feeling his body tightening he abandoned his meal, muttering. “I’m getting some kindling.”

Upon returning he found only the bare bones of his portion of food. His gaze flew to Nim shivering beneath her cloak and saw the remnants of hers as well.

Apparently, her appetite hadn’t changed. Though his stomach grumbled objections at the stolen rations a smile pulled at his lips.

She was unspeakably lovely in slumber. He could forget how plush her lips were in the light of day when they were so often tightened in frustration with him. Now they were thick and slick and begged to be kissed. Her Long dark lashes rested against the smoothness of her cheek. The firelight played with the slim shadow of her cheekbones. Easing closer to stare down at her, he noticed the quaking of her shoulders and clacking of her teeth.

Rain began to fall. It’d be much colder in a short time.

Cursing himself for a fool, he dragged his bed roll close and dropped down behind her. Scooting an arm beneath her he pulled her against him.

She stiffened at the sudden impact of her back touching his body.

“What? Are you afraid I’d touch you?” Splaying his hand over her taut abdomen he let his thumb brush the bottom of a pert breast and allowed his pinky to slide low enough she began to writhe in discomfort. He firmly nested her in the cradle of his hips. Satisfied when it elicited a small gasp from her.

“Don’t worry.” He whispered in her ear. “I’d sooner cut off my own hand.”


“Odd.” She remarked tonelessly. Seemed your hands were all over me earlier.”

He vividly flashed a memory of her bathing in the lake. Her body shimmering under a drying layer of water.

Fair point.

“It doesn’t mean I don’t steal wonder what evil I may contract from touching you.”

“Doesn’t feel like you’re worried about that.” She hissed back spitefully as she wriggled her hips to make her point. Making it apparent that she’d recognized his hardness despite all his venom.

His teeth ground but before he could come up with something appropriately scathing, she was speaking again-or more aptly, demanding to know.

“Why are you holding me?”

Momentarily off-guard he paused before saying. “Hard to make you miserable if you freeze to death.”

Certainly, truth in that.


She scoffed and he expected she’d call him on his bluff, but she didn’t. She only murmured in a cracking voice. “I don’t need your efforts to be miserable.”

Sensing the weight of her sorrow, he felt like a cad. I’ve made her think of the loss of her son again.

And all the delays were meeting in getting to them. He knew her frustration arose from her urgency to reach him.

To save him.

Sighing heavily, he whispered. “I am sorry, you know?”

“For what?” Her head turned to see him in her peripheral. “I can’t imagine you being sorry for anything you’ve ever done.”

Ouch.

He put a palm to her cheek and pushed her face away. Unable to meet her permeating gaze. Even in darkness.

“That you were slave to the Demon King. That he did unspeakable things...”

She started to interject but he cut her off, needing to explain. “You’d left me for Baron, so I wasn’t too shocked to hear you’d abandoned him for-”

“I didn’t! I-” Outraged she huffed when he shushed her.

I know that. Now.

“There were mixed rumors. You’d left, you’d been taken...I just told myself it was none of my concern. If you’d wanted my help, you’d have gotten word to me.”


Nim was quiet a long time. “I thought about it a hundred times. About putting my energy in the river or the rain to send you a message.”

“Why didn’t you?” He stiffened. Shocked at this new knowledge.

“Or even to your precious Baron?” He couldn’t keep the derision out of his voice.

“Sweet Baron.” She murmured. Her sorrow hitting him in wild waves. “I did send him word.”

“And he didn’t come?” Contempt filled Disseus at the mere thought that the man had been too cowardly to come for her.

“No.”

“Then what word did you send?”

“To stay away or he’d be killed.” She paused. “Perhaps it was he that’d begun to believe I’d gone of my own accord because I didn’t ask him to come for me.”

“Why didn’t you?”

“The Demon King would’ve tortured Baron.”

“And me? Why didn’t you call for me?” His voice had dropped with deep interest.

“Do you truly think that even you could’ve avoided that same fate?” She twisted her head to look back over her shoulder at him again. Making her red hair bunch near his nose.

“Who’s to say that even the great Feral could’ve gotten me out of those caves?”


“So, what did you do?” He asked softly.

She was worried I’d die trying? For the first time he wondered if perhaps she did know him better than he gave her credit for. I would’ve.

“It’s worse than anything you could imagine.” She murmured.

I wouldn’t bet on that.

I imagined countless horrible fates while you were gone.

Some I’d even thought to inflict myself…But now the hunger to harm her was waning and with every day he knew he was falling more susceptible to her charms. That former respect for her clambering back through him again as he learned what meant most to her.

Her son.

“Tell me.” He pulled her more firmly against him. His sinewed arms tense around her as he offered her some vague bit of reassurance. “Now.”

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