FOREVER KNIGHTS: #18 Traitorous Lovers

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MARDICHI - Brotus' Arrow & Zuriena's Birds

Netherland Battling Border

MARDICHI

The bandits grew loud on the other side of the fire.

“Raven!” Brotus called.

She peered around Mardichi.

Mardichi used his knuckles to turn her chin back to him. “Not there. At me.” He looked at her intently. “Right here. With me.”

“Get to her!” Brotus shouted.

“Do you see blame in my face?” Mardichi asked softly. Keeping her look mesmerized. Green eyes locked to orange and red. Yellow fire billowing as tall as them, surrounding them. Smoke forming a gray enclosure above. Completely separating them from the outside world. His red hair weaving around him in the motion of the fire he charged.

“No.” She murmured.

“Do you see hate?”

“No.”

“Do you see rage for you?”

“No.”

“Do you see any difference in how I look at you now then you did that long ago?”

“I…I…”

“You don’t, Zuriena.” He cut in. Seeing she was reluctant to say the words. But understanding luminesced in her beautiful eyes. “You’re the woman I met. The woman I trained in swordplay. Archery. The woman I laughed with and laid in meadows on endless summer days. The mate I shared a son with. The mate I now share a daughter with.”

“I claimed you as my mate. You claimed me as yours. Our Paladine circlets sealed the bargain we made to each other.”

Her eyes didn’t flicker.

“Yet you discard yours at the first adversity you met.”

She scoffed. “It was high more than that, Acel!”

“Yes. It was.” He agreed. “You left me to grieve the loss of our son alone. Until I eventually had to grieve the loss of my wife. Where were you when we could’ve comforted each other? We should’ve been in each other’s arms crying until the day I was strong enough to stand again. Then I’d have hunted down that Dread Witch and torn her apart.”

“And what of me?” She demanded.

“You’re the fiercest woman alive. I’d have taken you with me, had you wished.”

“I still wish!”

“Then we can hunt her.”

Hope filled Zuriena’s face but she shook her head. Tossing away the thoughts. “No. I already have a mission. The mission I began before you.”

“The mission I trained you for.” He reminded.

“Yes.”

“Then let me accompany you in your vengeance?” He gestured aggravatedly. “The same as I’d have let you.”

Her mouth gaped in shock. “You’d have partnered with me?”

“In anything!” He roared. Making the fire around them stretch Heavenward in his frustration.

He reached to wrap his arms around her but at that moment he was jerked sideways. As an arrow pierced the side of his neck. The dripping tip jutted from the other side, just above his shoulder. He choked. His hand flying to the glistening point. He gripped the splint of wood and considered pulling it.

Zuriena shrieked in horror taking a quick step closer. Registering his unsteady balance, she grabbed both sides of his ribs. Holding him.

“No!” She yelled.

“Get her!” Brotus shouted from the other side of the streamers of fire.

“How do we get through?”

“Go!”

Another arrow flew from that direction flying through the back of her bicep. Tossing a chunk of skin and sending a burst of blood drops splattering over Zuriena.

“Stop!” Zuriena cried. “Please!”

The gargling sound he made was horribly familiar. Making her panic rise. As she began to become hysterical. Shrieking so shrilly it could’ve been the cry of a hawk.

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