FOREVER KNIGHTS: #14 Broken Birds

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A Woman's Weapons

She put out her bottom lip.

He approached her as abruptly as she’d changed tactics.

She backed away, letting him follow her, feeling the slack in the ankle chain. She spun, easing behind him.

Only his eyes followed her. He crossed his arms over his chest, gripping his elbows. Not turning to follow her.

She stood directly behind him, laying a hand on his shoulder.

He jerked as though she’d seared him.

She caressed her hand down his back. Even through the thick tunic, she felt the muscles rippling beneath his skin as she traced her fingertips over the smooth flesh of his bicep.

He made not a sound. When she came a full circle around him, facing him again, he studied her unblinkingly. “What do you have to say to me, woman?”

Stepping aside him, she put a hand on the back of his arm to reach around front with the other and trace over the taut muscles bared by the ‘v’ of his tunic before pressing against his back.

Leaning up to his ear, she whispered. “Do you want me , Alazareth?”

Dumb question.

She knows full well the answer to that.

He looked over his shoulder to give her a stern study. “What game are you playing, Little Queen?”

She met his stare questioningly.

His gaze deepened with intensity as she refused to look away. His tone was calm, factual. His words, a husky murmur. “You know I do.”

It’s what you’ve always played on. My affections for you have proven my weakness thus far. They won’t be any longer.

She glanced meaningfully down at the restrictive chain wrapping her ankle.

It lay harmlessly beside him, next to his black boot.

She lifted a stunned gaze to his impassive face.

Wondering how I did it. When I stepped out of the trap she was so carefully laying.

As fast as she’d done it. I’d extracted from it.

She’d been carefully watching him, touching him the whole time she wrapped that chain around his feet.

Waiting for the right moment to yank it tight and pull my feet from under me. But he’d sidestepped the trap she’d studiously woven.

“If that’s so, then why be so cruel?” She faced him squarely, dropping her hands. The feel of his flesh still burned her palms.

You gave me no choice.

“Kindness gets one nowhere with you, this I’ve learned.”

She scoffed. “You’ve never been kind. There’s always a motive behind any satin words falling from your mouth. You’re a hissing serpent!” Her words came as harsh as his had been.

He grabbed her so quickly she jumped.

She hadn’t seen him move. Just suddenly he clenched her upper arm in a biting grip.

“You’re the snake, Ri. You who’s so quick to condemn me. Yet have you once asked why I am what I am? You with your,” His tone grew gruff “superior ways. Unable to utter kind words without either wanting rid of my company, me to do your bidding, or released from your cage.”

“You’re unbelievable!”

“I am?” He took a step toward her. “I am! You’ve as many moods in a moment as the moon has phases in a month!”

She huffed. So mad she was shaking.

“It’s true, Riaura.” He said softly.

“It’s not true!” Her voice was adamant.

She finds the likelihood that she’s more conniving and callous then I, inconceivable.

“When have you ever come to me merely for companionship? And upon discovering whatever tidbit of information you wished to know, or that I’d completed whatever detail you demanded, how often have you thanked me?”

Not even when I killed in your name.

“I used to.” She cut out in her defense.

When you were a child! Suddenly he released his hold and turned on his heel, only stopping at the tent flap to turn.

“Indeed. You used to. When you still considered me a man and not a thing beneath you…” He exited the tent without another word.

She stomped a foot in frustration. Speechless.

His fury was a permeable thing.

She slumped back against the beam she was chained to.

Finally realizing she can do nothing save wait further word from Nightway.

No amount of manipulating me will make me save her from this mess she got herself into.

And finally, he felt the lesson was taught to his satisfaction. I’m no longer her puppet to be mastered at her whim.

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