Please Protect Her
She stood frozen. Head lowered to keep her face hidden as Chavias had directed.
Bast peered around Chavias. “Please tell me it isn’t a woman?”
Bast is nothing if not direct.
Seeing Chavias’ struggle for words he groaned and put a hand to his forehead.
“I can no longer protect her.” Chavias plead. Giving Bast a steady look.
I’ve no other options. No one else to go to.
“You…were…protect-you? How?” Bast sputtered.
Bast darted a glance at the statuesque woman and her ducked head. “This couldn’t come at a more inopportune time.”
Chavias grimaced. Paralyzed in fear that Sebastian wouldn’t accept. Finding himself reaching back for Sabine’s hand.
Without hesitation she took it, giving his bigger one a firm squeeze.
Bast’s eyes were drawn to the movement.
Damn him for not missing a detail. Chavias’ jaw tightened.
“Of course, I’ll look after your woman for you.” Bast sighed. “Is she captive or consenting?”
“Captive?” Chavias blinked.
“Many of our brothers have shown a penchant for stealing the women they intend for mate.”
Mainly you. Chavias thought. Before he and Sabine exchanged a long study.
She lifted her head enough, large circular blue eyes were visible.
Bast caught the faint flicker of Chavias’ lips twitching as he searched for an answer.
Sabine stepped forward. “I am his ward. I obey his wishes of my volition.” She lifted her chin, but the top of her face was still concealed under the hood.
Chavias’ jaw hung. Shocked that she of all, would come to his defense.
“Well that’s good and well. Far more difficult to hold a captive then a free woman.”
Chavias gave him a questioning look, wondering. And your woman?
“She was a captive. Very much captive.” Bast answered the unspoken query without looking back. “And she reminded me daily until I let her go.”
Chavias noticed a muscle in Bast’s jaw ticking periodically. Best not to probe further. Though he itched to ask.
Making Chavias jump. I forgot how unsettling it is that he can hear our thoughts like we hear others’.
“I’ll protect her as my own.” Bast vowed. “Let’s take her to get her things.”
Chavias swallowed the lump forming in his throat.
Bast’s head shot up. “Not mine like that!” He reached up and tugged the neckline of his decorative tunic to give his neck space. Black breeches seeming very formal when accompanying his bare feet.
“You must protect her no matter what. She must stay safe.”
“I vow to protect her no matter what.” Bast linked his hands behind his back and bowed in agreement.
Chavias abruptly faced him, gesturing to Sabine. “And if Sabine wishes to leave your protection, you must let her.” His voice was commanding. “She’ll never be forced to stay anywhere.”
Bast assented and leaned around Chavias to whisper to the red cloak. “You’ve done fine work on this beast.”
A brilliant smile was visible under the hood.
“Work, indeed.” Chavias grunted.
A strange trio, we are. Chavias recognized. A beautiful woman in a red cloak. A dark, tormented spirit and a sunlit man walking barefoot through the snowy bailey of a castle constructed of water.
“How does the snow even get in here?” Sabine eyes the rivers coursing over invisible barriers overhead. Tossing rainbows of light over the snow.
“It blows in through the gate.” Bast gestured back. “Or if there’s a particularly strong wind it can be hurled through the stone walls or the falls above.” He tossed a hand up before asking Chavias. “Where are her things?”
“Night Manor in Mane Country. I wasn’t sure you’d say yes.”
“Let’s go. We can get there and back in a few hours if we hurry and go as animals.”
Chavias nodded. Boots thudding back over the bridge toward Sabine who waited with a wide-eyed look. While walking he began shifting into the lumbering dragon. Making the bridge creak.
Once fully the muscled dragon, he stretched one long leg and gently caught her in a huge, clawed hand. Turning her into his palm and lifting her to his shoulder. He flew low.
In case she should slip. He tilted for her to climb to his back. She slid into place, settling her cloak around her ankles, bared as her skirt slid up when she seated.
Bast leapt into an arc and gave a feline roar. Changing into the sleek black panther before he landed.
Chavias moved through the air with the grace of a dragonfly. Pacing himself in slow flaps. For the brief couple hours, he savored the company of his friend below. It’s been too long.
Too long since I’ve flown. In service to the demon, Chavias could only travel as the dragon in spirit, like now, or on rare missions where Radix required the more intimidating figure of the dragon.
I’ve hungered for the cool air under my wings.
You can again. Sebastian was in Chavias’ thoughts. Peering up at him through gold eyes.
I’ve much I’d like to say. But now isn’t the time.