Blood and War

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Chapter 38 - Father's

“In your realm, you would be my master, but in mine, I would be yours,” Catherine explained her customs to him, but from where he sat, it sounded as if she was either trying to talk him out of this or herself into it.

Dillon wasn’t convinced yet, and under different circumstances, he would be amused. He was not used to Catherine being indecisive or confused, but then again, he never thought he would see her afraid either.

Their eyes met, and the sorrow in hers made Dillon uneasily aware of just how much life she must have lived. How much must the last few months have pained her? How much has the knowledge of her past, the betrayal of her kind, her plight and her situation tortured her inside?

“You do not have to do this... we can find another way,” Catherine assured him. It dawned on Dillon that she took his silence for regret. She was under the impression that she pushed him too far, too fast.

“There is no other way, Catherine, but like me, you do realize this could be an elaborate trap? Aldrich could be one of them, or this could be the chance to make it all work. We don’t know, but we no longer have a choice,” there was no need to explain it to her. Dillon could guess that these thoughts already passed through her head, at least a thousand times, since his return.

“Yes, this could be a trap or the only chance we have, but shouldn’t we at least try to think of some other way?” Catherine’s words came out, sounding uneasy.

Hope and fear fought a war in her eyes, but Dillon knew her trepidation wasn’t solely for them, his kind or her kind. Some of it lay in a deeper, more selfish place.

What would he have done to regain his honor, in her stead? What would he not have done? Hadn’t his whole crusade started to show his father how he erred in sending him, Dillon, away. How, despite his father’s opinions of him, he became a man worthy of respect?

They were both hungry for what they could not have, the respect and the love of their fathers. Her desire would be stronger than his for having known both.

Dillon’s need was also less than hers, only because he had a far better father than his own could ever be. Their aching need for the love of their patriarchs was the driving force behind them both. The one unifying truth they could not avoid.

Their mothers were a vague memory to both of them. Dillon and Catherine could hardly recall their faces. Their fathers were the only parental love they would ever know, and the lack of respect their fathers had for them, stirred in them both an urge to prove themselves.

It created a desire in them to demonstrate to their progenitors that they were wrong and their judgment had fallen short. On the other hand, they were cut from a different cloth than most people.

Their urges were tempered by their responsibilities and their circumstances. They could not allow themselves to be consumed by their own needs because they had a duty to their people.

Catherine was not doing this only to get back her place in life. She did not choose the easy way, just to find her way back from oblivion and Dillon would stake his life on that fact.

They were both very realistic people in a sense. There would be no point in proving themselves to their fathers if they ended up being the slaves of men without compassion, dead or perhaps wishing they were.

There was a road to be traveled first and quite frankly, Dillon could not think of a better ally or one he trusted more.

He learned to admire her strength, and like him, she hated the killing. She hated the taking of life, even of the dreaded Easterners, but also like him, she would do her duty until the last drop of her own blood was spilled.

“We need witnesses who would not speak out of turn,” Catherine disturbed his thoughts, and Dillon realized he had stared at her for a very long time.

She had grown slightly uncomfortable under his gaze. It made the little boy in him very pleased for him to have such an effect on her.

“I thought Althea and Dina would be best,” Catherine suggested. She was more reserved now, uncertain if she overstepped a boundary she wasn’t aware of.

“Yes, they would keep our secrets, and they do not fear you,” Dillon could see his words seemed to please her.

He wondered how it must affect her, all this negative sentiment always just beneath the surface. It must be a loneliness far beyond any other, despite the few friends she gained. He could not imagine how that would feel.

It could not be easy for her. She would always be the outsider among his kind, no matter how much good she did for them and they would always be ready to turn on her.

It must be like being forced to live with a vicious dog and not knowing when it would be in the mood to bite. Dillon didn’t know if he would be as accepting as Catherine was. In fact, he knew he would not. He would fight and rage against his bonds, with all of his might.

Dillon had no idea of the sympathy in his eyes as he glanced at Catherine or how her understanding of his mood pierced her heart. She did not want his pity, but it was touching that he would feel it.

She frowned, and her eyes became slightly darker. In the time he was around her, Dillon had learned a few things about her. She was like the half-wolf he’d had growing up. The little flash of something in her eyes meant they had visitors.

He frowned too. He was not expecting visitors, and wordlessly Dillon got up from his seat. She followed him up, and Catherine brought him his sword.

Dillon glanced into Catherine’s eyes. She was as uneasy as he was and with a nod, he turned toward the door. He knew she was right behind him when he lifted the flap and walked out into the night.

Her eyes scanned the nearby dark out of habit and out of unease. His coiled strength as Dillon strode ahead of her, almost managed to distract her, but she didn’t allow it.

Catherine strained her senses to the maximum. Visitors to a camp like this, in the early hours of the morning, usually meant trouble just arrived or was on the way.

She had to force the distractions of their lives out of her head. Hard as it was to try and dampen the live wire of thoughts in her mind.

Her world was turned upside down. Catherine could not concentrate on that and be distracted from what might happen.

When Dillon left to meet Aldrich, she did not expect any of what would follow. The last thing on earth she foresaw was the way Aldrich chose to help them, but she knew, just as Aldrich knew that this was the one way they could beat the odds. Maybe even sway the balance of power in their favor.

Catherine’s nose picked up an odd scent, and she was instantly alert. There were strangers here, and they were foreigners to this land, but they were not vampires or Easterners.

I hope this is nothing bad.

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