1580 - Look After Him
1580 Mane Country
“Sebastian” The woman breathed as she opened her cottage door and bid him enter.
As she has countless times before.
“Moira.” He greeted stomping off his boots before entering the sparse cottage.
“I’ve missed you.”
“My lover has returned from his estate. He’s really quite possessive.” She threw shining brown hair over her shoulder, proudly.
“I care not a whit for possessive lovers.” He shrugged.
“Do you care for me?”
He leaned back his head, gold eyes staring down his nose haughtily. You know better.
But hope shined on her face.
“Moira, I don’t come here to whisper lies to you.”
“You whisper many things to me,” She sighed. “But never lies.”
“Do you want me to go?”
She stared at him. His skin and hair shining gold in the light from her small fire. His features square and infinitely appealing. “I’ve never seen a man the like.” She walked up to stroke his face. “I want you with me.”
“Then come. I’ll spend the eve loving you, if you wish it?”
“I’m cold comfort for a widow.”
“But you are so warm.” She countered.
“I don’t feel it.” He dismissed. Striding from her to move objects on the table.
She grabbed his shoulders and roughly turned him to face her. Though he towered over her by more than a foot she was unintimidated by this man who’d shown her nothing but kindness.
“You could have any woman in Ardae. Why do you come to the bed of a nothing woman? A woman who’s only mistress to powerful men.”
“Because your loneliness screams louder then any I’ve heard. I come to soothe it.”
“Not to bed me?” She teased. Caressing his cheek again.
“Not if you don’t wish it. I’d sit on the settee and hold you in my arms if you’d have it.”
“Would my presence bring you comfort?”
“No.” His voice dropped. “No companionship could soothe the way of my suffering.”
It’s for what my kind are, what we’ve lost, and for the many more brothers that are hunted and slaughtered. For my helplessness to protect them.
“You know your brethren call you ‘The Great Protector’.”
As if she read my thoughts.
“I know what they call me.” He took a drink of the wine she’d poured for him. There was an uncharacteristic sadness to him tonight.
“Will you ever love a woman?” Moira asked.
“I’m unsure.” He set the glass down. “I’ve hardened over the years. Ever bored.”
“I’ve seen that. I’ve watched you grow cold.”
“I’ve watched too many brothers die.” He sighed. “I’m losing the tenuous faith I’ve clung to.”
“Well, join me my faithless one.” She took his hand and led him to her chamber. “For though you may be willing to merely hold me, I crave greater sport with you!”
“You usually do.” But there was fondness in his voice.
They shucked their clothing and soon Sebastian was enveloped in the smell and feel of Moira. Feeling the soft length of her brown hair sliding through his fingers and washing over the pillows.
He was so engrossed in his lovemaking he didn’t hear the door of her cottage open. But he certainly felt the burn of the blade sinking beneath his shoulderblade and into his heart. His head fell back as he grunted in pain. Rolling from Moira to face his attacker as his body began weakening.
He saw a black-haired man with eyes equally as dark.
“Demaron.” Moira whimpered fearfully. Lurching up on her elbows to catch up the coverlet. “I didn’t know you were coming!”
The man shook with rage. Bloodied dagger dripping over the bedding as he leaned over Moira.
Bast blinked blearily a few times, feeling himself waning with every broken beat of his damaged heart.
I’m dying. He knew. And there was a slight sense of relief. But more than that was the fear of what’d happen to the others. Of what would occur if he couldn’t look after them. He swallowed his pain. Fighting to get his body on its feet, but only managing to roll off the edge of the bed. Toppling the bedstand in the process.
The cottage shook with Sebastian’s body struggling to live. Wind howled outside. And he felt the pain of scales pushing through his pores but was too weak to react. The gold layer rasped out to coat his chest and shoulders.
“What the hell is that thing!” He heard Demaron shout in horror.
Too late. The bliss of unconsciousness swept him away into black comfort. Where he felt like he floated. Somewhere safe and warm. He heard a man’s quick command.
“Look after him.”
And felt a surge as though pushed from where he was. Heard a woman’s scream in his ears. And the voice again.
“Look after him. He’s yours.” And there was utter silence.
WaterRose, Meadow Mountain, Grier Country
Sebastian woke slowly. Awash with pain.
He saw a dark head lowered over him and met the gray eyes of his friend.
“Chavias.” He greeted through a throat that felt stuffed with cotton.
How’d I get here?
“Your bloody luck is astounding! How you’re alive escapes me.” Chavias’ gray eyes were wide.
“Me as well.” Bast tried to sit but felt the cutting pain stabbing through his back and into his chest. “How am I alive?”
“I’m not sure this time. You healed. Did you manage that?”
“I don’t recall attempting to heal myself.”
“Well, you should have. I would’ve.”
Bast laughed humorlessly.
“You must quit with all this recklessness. We all knew it was a matter of time before some woman’s angry husband stuck you.”
“I’m glad you did.”
“You had to have guessed?” Chavias said sternly. His look incredulous.
“How’d you find me?”
“I didn’t. The Captain was passing through Mane and caught a whiff of your blood.”
“Where was I?”
“Thrown into the underbrush.”
“Is Moira well?”
“I haven’t the faintest idea who or what a Moira is. But perhaps you should worry for your own welfare this moment. Least until you heal.”
Bast grunted and flopped back to the pillows. Staring at the unfinished ceiling above him. The stronghold isn’t half done yet. It was a monument to the Captain and his mate. Despite that she never made it off the mountain that night.
All the more reason. He hoped it’d give their Captain some comfort when finished.
“Rest.” Chavias ordered. Pushing a palm to Bast’s forehead which caused Sebastian’s body to go limp.
“How is he?” Captain Deragan asked from the doorway.
“Did he mention who did this?”
“No. But in his sleep, kept asking, ‘who needs to look after me. Who?’ Then he’d quiet.”
“Any idea what he spoke of?”
“None.” Chavias was baffled.
They were quiet awhile.
“It’s remarkable he’s alive. How?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, bless your skills in battle wounds.” Deragan put a hand to Chavias’ shoulder. “I had little hope for him when I got him here.”
“I did very little.” Chavias shrugged.
“What?” Deragan frowned. “That’s impossible. He was covered in blood. Laying in a pool of it. That should’ve been enough to hollow him out…”
“Well when I examined him, he was relatively healed already.”
“That was a life-threatening wound.” Deragan objected.
“I know.” Chavias nodded solemnly.
“We don’t heal from those.”