Sealed With a Vow
The next few months were peaceful and happy.
As Chastain had agreed to, she wed Acharius in the Merwood. A score of knights standing in their white satin cloaks emblazoned with the fierce red cross watched.
Rhyers officiated as he had for many other knights.
They exchanged vined rings as was the custom in the Dread Hideout.
Once finished, Bast rushed to kiss her hand.
Acharius palmed his face and pushed him back. “Back up from my wife, Bast.”
“I was merely wishing her well.”
“You were ‘merely’ going to kiss her hand and woo her with your eyes.”
Bast gasped in feigned affront. “I’d never!”
“It’s okay.” Chastain caught Acharius’ elbow. “Whenever he talks to me I smile and do this.” She showed him her eyes tightly closed and a wide grin on her face.
Acharius teasingly pinched her chin as he looked down at her bright face. Cheeks flushed. “Smart girl.”
“Too smart.” Bast feigned disappointment.
“Ignore him.” Acharius elbowed him.
Bast elbowed him back.
Acharius elbowed him hard enough to know him sideways several steps. Clutching his bruised bicep, Bast laughed uproariously.
“Curse you Viking. Were you not as big as a house…”
“You’d what?” Acharius turned to grin down at him.
“Be able to outdrink your bloody mammoth self.” Bast rubbed his arm to ease the bruising he was certain already formed.
“Sure, you would.” Acharius turned back to Chastain, who’d been watching the interchange with humor written over her face. “Ignore him, he amuses himself flirting with the mates of all the Knights.”
“Am I your mate?” She asked.
He didn’t miss her meaning. His face sobering as he studied her face.
She wants me to mark her?
“Congratulations.” Alazareth strolled up to slap Acharius on the back. Glancing at his shined armor and cape waving in the chilly morning breeze. “I think I’ve only seen your armor polished to such a shine on one other occasion. Good to see you so happy, Brother.”
He means the day we entered the cave. When he taunted me for polishing it for my death. How wrong I’d been about how that day would end up.
I was so certain I was walking to my demise. Ironic it was so important to me to shine it last night for this day. When I feel like my life is only now beginning.
With her. His eyes returned to Chastain’s pretty profile. As she laughed and nodded toward Alazar.
Lucien Sabias stepped forward to congratulate them next. A tall, severe brunette on his arm. Eying the festivities haughtily.
Must be Meralee Carter. The Quiller-cat, Lucien calls her.
In the back of the group was a dark ominous presence. His black hair curling over his forehead. Dark blue eyes keen as he assessed everyone’s interactions.
When finally he walked toward them the line of knights parted and quieted.
Making way for him. Acharius stood and waited.
“Your Captain?” She whispered sideways.
“And our alpha.”
“He looks it. He exudes terrifying.”
“Yes, he does. He was like that when he was mortal too. People just stepped from his path. Afraid of his wrath.”
Behind the Captain, was a blonde clinging to his hand which reached back to her.
“She is The Fallen. ’Twas she that brought you back to me.”
When you almost died from the cave collapse.
As they walked up, Deragan lightly pulled the young woman from behind him. Introducing her. “Nora Bishop.”
“Thank you!” Chastain proclaimed. Catching the other woman in a tight embrace.
“You’re-you’re welcome.” Nora sputtered. Stiffening in the sudden hug. But her face slowly changed to a smile and she returned the affection.
“Welcome to the pack.” Deragan offered her a sideways hug around the shoulders.
“Thank you.” She caught him exuberantly about the waist.
Grunting he lifted his arms and gave Nora an apologetic look.
She merely covered her mouth on a giggle.
Chastain released him and he retreated a few steps. “I will send gifts to commemorate your event. And we’ll celebrate at Rosewynn early next year. If that’s okay?” He shot Nora a quick glance.
She smilingly nodded.
And they strode off.
I’ve never seen him sound a retreat so quickly. Acharius thought with a grin.
“Who’s that?” Chastain tugging his sleeve drew his attention to their left.
“Tev. Marcus Teverius.” Acharius whispered near her ear conspiratorially. “He’s king of the elves. He spends much of his time down in their tunnels.”
“Is that why he’s so white?”
“No. He’s always been that way.” Acharius grinned. “Poor fellow nearly glows in the dark.”
“I heard that.” Tev objected with a frown. “I do not glow. I gleam.”
“Like a glow bug.” Acharius supplied.
“I prefer, like an alabaster statue.” He turned his head for them to inspect his profile.
Next to him a purple-haired woman groaned. “Do not start.” She yanked his arm. “Let’s go get some of those delicious snacks.”
“Forgive her.” Teverius said. “She was raised by wolves.”
“Demon Dogs.” Serdephe corrected with a nod. “Congratulations though.” She drug Tev off.
Polite little thing. Still not one of my favorite women. He watched her go with a flicker of annoyance.