SEBASTIAN - My Dominion
He left her chamber sighing. Heading down the long corridor to the chamber at the end. Once inside he went to the balcony and stepped outside. Knowing the balconies only wrapped this corner of the castle. Safe from the wind and rushing waters.
He stood shirtless, feeling the occasional spray from around the corner carried in on the breeze. Despite his bare chest, he hardly perceived the cold. His breeches were molded tight to his skin against the wind as he surveyed the bailey. My dominion.
To the untrained eye it may have looked empty, but Sebastian heard and saw everything. He heard his friend Dimitrius, the fey bridge guard, in the tower greasing gears and moving the handle ever so slightly to ensure all worked smoothly.
He caught the sounds of the man’s son Mandrake, the stable boy, playing in the straw with a puppy which yipped excitedly. Making the boy laugh.
He heard the two cooks in the kitchens below adding logs to the fire for dinner.
A door closed down the hall and he knew one of the knights returned from some adventure, needing rest and the healing vibrations of WaterRose to recuperate.
Or perhaps he just needs a safe place to rest. And today nowhere else in the world feels safe. Sometimes that was how it was for them.
He heard branches in Warlock Grove rustling in the distance and glimpsed the dark wolf with the white eye patch slashing his face. Rhyers.
The tracker inspected the perimeter as he often did when he had time.
Verifying Cimmerii haven’t found us.
Where everything here could seem cold and empty, in truth it was a jumble of activity. Charged with the energy of the hundred Forever Knights who sought sanctuary here.
Bast wore a controlled expression. Doing his best to ignore the shivering of the castle walls.
Drawing attention to how the walls quake in response to her wouldn’t be wise…
She’s a huge imbalance to the magic binding the stronghold. His gut clenched at the idea of releasing her.
She could be a danger to mankind if she isn’t reined in. If I let her go Radix may very well come hunting her.
I can hold it all together. He told himself of the stronghold.
I just need to get her under control.
Bast was the strongest of their kind, save one. The Captain.
Only Captain Deragan Black surpassed him in strength. And he was away searching for his mate once more.
His second in command, Lucien Sabias, was vacationing in Paladine Country.
Thus, WaterRose had fallen into Bast’s care. As it is, more frequently than not. He thought ruefully.
I shouldn’t be disgruntled she desires the amulet. She can’t know it summons us. The Forever Knights. With a single touch and whispered words, it could draw all of his brotherhood. They’d feel the command as surely as their own heartbeat. And as surely as that life-giving blood flowed, they’d recognize the summoning for what it was.
Shaking himself from his reverie he focused on the small figure in the four-poster bed. Appearing so minute now. Fragile even.
He was hard pressed to recall the vicious brown being she transformed into when incited.
He’d spent the night past reading in-depth on valkyrie lore. I’m still taking that in.
It was a chore just attempting to sort myth from the terrified chronicling of fact. But one thing is certain…She’s dangerous.
A powerful whirlwind of havoc. Looking at the stone walls surrounding him he wondered if it’d be enough to contain her.
Elsabet watched the gold giant standing in the doorway. Wincing when he shouted for someone. She put a hand to her forehead.
“What is it you want now?” She groaned.
“Where have you been hiding?” He blurted. “How do so few know of your existence?”
“We’re rare. And we don’t bother others unless in defense.” She rolled away from him. Tugging a pillow over her head to muffle the sound of his voice.
I can be just as loud as you can stubborn, Woman.
“Where do you gather?”
“How have you been researching?” She demanded from under the pillow. “Stop.”
She weakly rose to her elbows, dropping the pillow. “There’s a library?” Her brows lifted.
“There’s many rooms.” He shrugged. “You’re free to explore.” He gestured around. “Just don’t leave WaterRose.”
A servant in plain brown garb and a small brown cap materialized in the doorway with a bowl of cheese and a loaf of bread. He took the food and approached the bed confidently.
“There’s other people here?” She breathed.
“Always. Who’d you think I called for.”
“I assumed you were just being loud apurpose.” Her nose curled as he reached the bedside. No fear tainted him.
“You’re insulted I don’t see you as a threat?”
“You should. I’m far stronger than you think.”
Oh, I think you’re very strong.
Just not enough to outmaneuver me. I’ve been around a very long time…
“You don’t know what I think.”
Thank God for that.
“No, apparently I am not permitted in your mind despite that you enjoy skipping through mine regularly.”
Yes, I do.
He knelt next to her and watched as she debated on whether to strike him.
She could rear her forehead into his. Or use her magic to wrap him in her power and contain him until she regained her strength.
Or so she thinks.
She knew if she got enough food, she could metabolize it and quickly regain normal capacity within only a matter of hours or a day at most.
“You’re struggling to stay conscious. Your musings of causing me harm can wait. If you’re tired, rest.”
“Afraid of what would happen to you while you did?”
She lifted her head, surprised he saw through her so clearly. “I don’t trust you, nor any man for that matter. And I certainly would be a fool to trust your intentions.”
“I prefer my women fully engaged. Not sleeping the rest of the dead.”
“I’m not dead.”
“Could’ve fooled me.” He shifted to the floor. The bowl in hand and proffered her some cheese. When she made no move, he urged. “How could you fend me off if you’re too weak to rise?”
Staring at him a long while she hesitantly reached for the sustenance. Her body trembled, and her hand fell. She’s too weak for even that.
“Huh.” He grinned. “If I feed you will you take my fingers?”
“Most likely.” She murmured.
Deciding to risk it he moved to the edge of the bed and fed her chunks of cheese from the metal cup.
Disgust at her own weakness reflected in her eyes.
“Ah, how your soul rages for entrusting me to feed you. Where’d you learn such hatred Little Harpie?”
“I let you feed me as I currently have no other option.”
“Of course, you do.” He said cheerfully. “You could refuse until you collapse completely. Then you’d find out if I’m a man of my word, wouldn’t you?” He met her long look and lifted a blonde brow.
Her nose wrinkled. “As I said. No choice.”
Chewing carefully, she eyed him like a wild animal. Irritation written over her face and left undisguised.
For my benefit, no doubt.
Breaking off chunks of bread he served them to her.
She chewed then swallowed slowly. Her neck curving and her breath catching in her dry throat.
He yelled for the servant again. A different one arrived. Handing him a mug and a tankard of ale. Pouring it in the mug he helped her roll over. Lifting her back so he could pour the fluid down her neck. Swallowing gratefully, her face changed momentarily to relief.
Were she a less prideful creature she might have thanked me. But he doubted it.
Releasing her, he let her fall limply back to the plush pillows. Blowing out a heavy breath she went incredibly still.
It’ll be awhile until she regains full strength. I’ll feed her again in a few hours.
She was indescribably beautiful laying there. Hair the silver white of snow spilling around her face and catching glints of light to cast a glow on the skin of her cheek. Long dark lashes a reflection of the perfectly arched brows. And those lips, when not compressed in contempt, were full and vivid. Nearby a small hand rested on the pillow. The fingers curled in slumber. Each one perfectly formed and looking beckoningly smooth.
I wonder if those little hands are as soft as they look. But such thoughts were having an unwelcome effect on his body.
Spinning on his heel he headed for the door. Shifting his breeches with a grunt.