Chapter 11- The request
Kara turned her head to the side in a peaceful sleep. Never, since her parent’s death had she slept as soundly and undisturbed by chaotic dreams or the tossing of her body as she did now.
The sound of a hard thud on the wagon floor beside her head woke her from her slumber. Her blue eyes fluttered open to see a large shadow sitting beside her. She sat up quickly hands looking for her nearby sword, until her sleepy eyes focused on the man that sat by her.
“What are you doing here, Marko?” She whispered relaxing and sitting down across from him.
He sighed tiredly and gave her a small smile. “I was helping you sleep.”
She frowned, could see better than he thought, she was observant. For the last three nights she has had unusually pleasant sleep, in contrast during the day Marko looked tired. He had dark rings under his eyes and was always yawning. At first she thought it was stress, but now she knew why he was so pale and short tempered.
“Have you been sitting there while I sleep?” She asked louder than she should have in a camp full of sleeping wolves.
“Yes, you toss a lot in your sleep. The first night on the road you were having a nightmare.” He scuffed lightly, “You called me in your sleep, so I came.”
“Yeah and now you are so tired you look like a walking corpse.” she moved to sit beside him. “You need to sleep.”
He nodded looking down at his hands “I know, but I can’t.” He looked back at her. “Sleeping would require me to leave your side... for the decency of it.”
“Yes, it is expected that we sleep on the same bed but you don’t want that yet and I will not ask for it-”
“But will it help you sleep?”
“Sweetheart, you have as much calming effect on me as I evidently have on you,” he said leaning into her so that their shoulders met. “But what I need right now is for you to talk to me. Why can you not sleep?”
She looked up at him weighing his question. What he needed was to feed and sleep. Yes he had not fed since they blood bonded and part of her was afraid of repeating the even. She did not want her vampire side to manifest again, not if it was going to lose control and try to drink all of his blood.
“I will tell you but you must agree to two things.”
“Okay” he said slowly, with a skeptical look
“One, you need to go to sleep.”
“Fine I can go do that-”
“No if you go you will not sleep peacefully. If I apparently sleep well with you sitting there then you will also sleep well in my presence. You will stay here and you will sleep. I think I can manage waking you up if there is any real danger. You know like a bear runs into the camp, every brave wolf panics and the wagon catches fire.”
He laughed lightly. “I see I have no option then?”
“No, you do not,” she said with an as-a-matter-of-fact voice.
He looked at her letting her see the dancing wolf in them. The fact that she was ordering him amused his wolf, had it been anyone else he would have made them back down. Unless that person was Yenive or his mother, they were scary.
“So then. What is your second request?”
“I will tell you latter, you will agree to it so do not worry about it too much.”
He gave her a skeptical look. “Okay, fine, so tell me about your dream then.”
Kara scuffed. “Which one? The one where I see my parents die, or the one where I am standing in a field of corpses?”
She could feel his body tense; instinctively she leaned onto him so that their arms touched. Kara only wished it were actually a skin to skin touched, but for now this was enough, for now.
She took a deep breath and exhaled. “My parents died when I was eleven. Vampires- rogue vampires.” She corrected herself. “They came into the village and killed every one. This was the first time I had seen my father use so much of his magic, but there were too many of them. He died summoning his power in to this sword,” she said retrieving the weapon from were it laid beside her bag and a sack of apples. “The legacy holds the last drops of power of dying fae. Like my father and his ancestors, when my time comes the last of my power will merge with the silver and the sword will be passed to the next generation.
The sword only got to me when my father tossed it to me. ‘Take it,’ he yelled at me as a rogue ripped his throat out with its bare claws. My mother had already been killed; an arrow had pierced her heart as she had tried to shield me from an attack. I was never able to find out who did that though.” Kara could feel old tears threatening to emerge.
Marko’s unnaturally warm hand came to rest on top of hers. She turned her had letting their fingers entwine like the strings of a net. The simple action made her heart skip and she brought her mind some comfort.
“I lunged for the sword intent on avenging my parents, my neighbors, and my home. Instead the sword had other plans, it sent me away to a distant land, and here I am, still fighting for my place in this horrible world,” she said and set down the sword by her feet. “Sometimes I felt as alone as a child, I had lost everything and I would sometimes wonder why I was I even alive. I was a continual attraction of danger.” She shook her head. “I wish I could forget it all, all the blood and cries of pain. Everything.”
“No,” his voice seemed gruff, a mixture of anger and deep sorrow. “You must live and carry their memories, as long as they are not forgotten they will live in spirit.” His eyes softened. “And now you have me to share those memories with, good or bad.”
Kara gave him a small smile and thought. I should be mad at him for having invaded my mind that first day of travel, and yet I feel relieved, I am no longer trapped alone in my thoughts. Maybe he can help me live with these memories that burn my mind.
“What about the other dream, the one with the field of corpses?”
She swallowed, her hands suddenly felt cold so she rubbed them and breathe some hot air on them. Marko took her hands in his, their warmth quickly spreading over them.
“That dream felt so real. There was blood everywhere, I could feel its sticky warmth over my body and smell its metallic stench.” Her hands began to shake under his “The ground was covered in mutilated bodies, many beheaded, torn and s-stabbed, ” her voice shook as she spoke. How was she supposed to tell him that he died in her nightmare, that he was stabbed by her own sword? “I loathe war. I loathe it almost as much as I despise rogue vampires. It is senseless.”
“Sadly that is how the world works. We wage war for seemingly noble ideas, a war in search of peace.”
“Yes but after a few years of relative peace a darn war always follows.” she said with a puff of air.
“Unfortunately.” he said rubbing her hands with his thumb.
They sat I silence for some time. She didn’t even notice how heavily she was leaning into him. Her voice broke the comfortable silence. “Can I ask you something?” she straightened to look at him. “And this is not my second request, this is simply curiosity.”
“Okay,” he said now curious as to what her question could be.
“How is it that you can touch my sword when it is made out of silver? Silver is supposed to burn you.”
He smiled and leaned forward to grab her silver sword “I discovered it when I was a child. I was playing hide and seek with some vampire children in the Vorgon kingdom, we were visiting, when I hid in the armory. It was dark inside and I tripped on something. Next thing I know they are removing shards of a silver dagger from my ribs” he lifted his bark shirt to expose his abdomen and side. In the dim light provided by the nearby dying fire she could see a faint line of light skin. “Touch it,” Marko prompted.
She felt her cheeks burn from embarrassment and her hands itch to do as he offered. “No thank you.”
“Come on,” he said taking hold of her hand in a gentle grip. If she wanted to take her hand away she could have. But come on, who in their right mind would pass up the opportunity to touch this amazing skin? Kara might be shy and inexperienced in intimate situations but she was not stupid. Well, shy when his presence didn’t block her inhibitions.
He gasped when her cold fingers touched his burning skin. “Your hands are cold.”
“I do not mind it.” she said absentmindedly as he let go of her hand when she moved it to trace the small jagged scar. She relished in the electric pulses that ran up her arm at the contact with his skin. The scar was smoother then the skin around it. She frowned when she felt something hard under the skin.
“That is silver; they were unable to remove the smaller pieces. The amount left should have killed me as much as the actual stabbing should have. But apparently I am immune to it. I can still be decapitated or lethally stabbed, so I have to be careful of those ones.” by the end he tried to sound cheery, but she found it to be a rather serious subject.
I wonder how many more scars mark his body. How many adventures have brought him to the verge of death’s door?Kara thought as she traced the scar once more before letting her hand fall on her lap.
One day you will know every single one. Marko said softly in her mind. He was not being pompous, nor was he boasting on her attraction toward him. He was making her an offer for the future.
She slowly looked up at him to meet his smoldering grey eyes. Her breath caught as he leaned down slow enough for her to back away. But she didn’t, she waited for his warm lips to meet her cold ones. The contact with him provoked flair of magic swarm between them. This was not her magic, not entirely; it was different like a calmed version of it she had never experienced. Yet it was stronger, warmer and as consuming as Marko’s eyes. Their lips moved in a harmony that would make any musician envious of its perfection.
Time seemed to slow as their lips danced atop each other, but it still felt too soon when they separated. More out of the need for air than force of will.
She gasped as she open her eyes to meet his; they looked at each other in a daze. They were both perplexed by the strange magic running through them.
“That was strange I have never felt something like that” Marko started to ramble nervously, but Kara shut him up as she grabbed hold of his cotton shirt and pulled him in for another kiss.
A shallow rumble erupted from his chest as he regained control of the kiss. One of his large hands found itself tangled in her long black hair and the other guided her to lie back on the wagon’s wooden floor.
This was quickly turning in to a fire that neither of them wanted to extinguish. They wanted it to burn, burn everything that kept them away. Burn off their skin until all that was left was their souls merging into one shining mass of energy.
He leaned back, took off his shirt and tossed it aside. He looked down at her with a smirk on his face; she only wished she could see more clearly, so that she could admire the sculpture before her. Kara reached out to touch him; her now warm hand touched his firmly muscled core. She could feel the hills and valleys that made up his abdomen. Perhaps her eyes could not see the details of his physique but her hands could feel it, and she was not going to complain. Marko lowered to kiss her again consuming her mind with his strong scent of cedar wood.
She wanted more, and even though the thought of harming him was a present inhibitor to her actions, she simply did not want to stop this. So when his tong brushed her lower lip asking for entrance she gladly accepted. She let her hands wrap around his neck, bringing him closer to her lips, her hands played with his hair massaging his scalp. A moan escaped her as another wave of magic cursed through them.
It seemed like every intimate experience they shared was different, the more they shared the more intense it seemed. His mouth left hers to trail her jaw line down to her ear. She smiled at the feel of his prickly beard brushing against her oversensitive skin. He untied the coat from around her shoulders and gently slid the neck line of the plain gown she was wearing out of the way. Marko was being careful; as if she were a doe during hunting season and any wrong movement from him would make her run away. He kissed his way down her neck and stopped were her neck met her shoulder.
Suddenly he tensed like someone had dropped cold water over him. A growl left his throat, a sound more similar to one of insecurity than anger. One of her hands travels down his back trying to calm his wolf. He lifted himself so that he hovered directly above her, none of his weight ever crushing her. His eyes seemed to glow as the shifted from grey to pale blue.
She opened her mouth to say something but hesitated for a moment, her mouth suddenly too dry to otter a word. She licked her lips to moist them, which captured the attention of his eyes. “I want you to feed.”
He didn’t say anything he just looked at her with his shifting eyes. Smoldering her with his alert gaze that examined every single feature the dim light of the fire would let him see. She let her free hand come up to stroke his rough cheek.
“That is my second request”
“That is not fair, sweetheart.” he said closing his eyes trying to control his wolf. He was backing out.
“You want to protect me day and night, but you are negligent with yourself. Tell me, how will you do that if you find yourself weak from lack of sleep and blood? Food alone will not sustain you. Either way you had to drink again at some point, and although I am a bit wary of repeating our first... encounter, I know you need it.” She smiled before whispering in his ear. “Besides I never said I played fair.”
With that Marko opened his eyes showing her all his desire in the form of pale blue eyes. He could bring the world down on its knees if he gave that look too often. He quickly brought his hungry lips to the crook of her neck and gave the area a kiss before biting down on her porcelain skin.
A rugged breath escaped her as the shock of the initial pain set in. this time she didn’t try to push him off, now she wanted him closer. The pain quickly dissipated leaving her with a sensation of belonging, not to him, but with him.
He groaned when her hands came to grasp his arms. As he drank Kara’s urge to return he favor increased. She wanted to taste his blood, but the fear of repeating their previous blood sharing kept her from doing so. She did not want whatever part of her was vampire to come out and guide her actions.
Marko removed his mouth form her neck for a moment letting out a hot breath over her shoulder. “You are fighting yourself.”
She swallowed a lump in her throat. “I do not want to get out of control, my magic might not be able to harm you, but my bloodlust can.”
“I want all of you,” Marko said licking the bite on her neck to heal it. “And this occasional blood lust that comes from your vampire linage is something I am happy to deal with. Drink from me, if you lose control I will stop you,” he said with a confident voice he lifted his body to look at her. His dark hair framed his face in the dim light as he spoke. “I will never force you to drink. But believe me, holding back all the time will only make it worse, especially when you are inexperienced.”
Marko could see the shifting in her eyes as that beautiful yellow hue drifted through them.
She put a hand on his cheek feeling the rough stubble of beard she was beginning to love. Her thumb ran over his moist lips contemplating his words.
Could she really do this? Accept the fact that she wants this man in front of her not just his addicting kisses and beautiful body, but the sincerity of his mind and the compassion in his heart. Could she accept that she wanted his blood? That she wanted to stay with him for the rest of her unnatural life?
She shook her head, not sure if responding to the questions that swam in her head or the invitation that he had given her.
“It’s going to be fine,” he said brushing a strand of hair away from her face and giving her a kiss on her forehead.
A sudden thud in the wagon had them both looking at the back opening with big alert eyes. Their immediate thoughts were ’Oh gods someone caught us in “the act”, but to their relief the intruder was no soldier.
The dapple-grey horse looked at them with big eyes that said he too share their thoughts. In his mouth Froy held a shiny apple, which he had taken from the sack near the exit. The horse gave them a knowing look before shaking his big head and trotting away with his stolen fruit.
Marko sighted rolling to lie beside her. “That horse has a knack for timing,” he said folding his hands behind his head, using them a cushion.
Kara turned to look at him. He was looking at the ceiling like it was the most important thing in the world. But he could not fool her.
“I am sorry,” she said placing a hand on his forearm.
“No I was the one pushing it, it’s okay if you don’t want my blood Kara,” he said still not looking at her.
He was hurt and she knew it, he hid it well, like someone who had had years of practice.
“Just... just give me some time to get used this Vampire thing. I need to know I can control It,” she said as her hand came to rest on his chest.
“I would say you can control yourself just fine,” Marko said taking hold of her small hand.
“Because I don’t need blood to survive. I have been doing just fine without it my whole life. But when you are drinking mine I just feel the need to join you,” she said scooting closer to him. “Is that a... mate thing?”
He chuckled and looked at her. “It is, especially among werewolves, but it is not necessarily done every time there is intimacy. I have no idea about vampires though they are very private about their mating habits.” he rubbed her hand with his thumb and said almost nervously. “We can take it slow with the blood if you want. You can drink from my wrist.”
“Or your finger ” she said with a smile, remembering the day they met, when he had given her blood from his finger to heal her broken arm.
“Hmm yes, that would be a start.” he said and took a deep tired breath.
“Well enough talking. Go to sleep as I requested.” she tried to take her hand away from his grip but he didn’t budge.
“Please? I will sleep better if I hold you.” he said with a slight rumble in his voice.
“Only if you promise to behave” she said rising a brow at him.
He turned on his side, a wide smile on his face “I promise I will try.”
She rolled her eyes and turned on her side giving him her back. Marko swiftly snaked an arm around her waist pulling her flush to his body. She could feel his strong heart beat at her back. Kara felt small as he seemed to wrap around her, or perhaps he was simply too big.
He took a deep breath drawing in her sweet scent. He could never place the smell, like caramel, no not that, maple, not that either. She had a unique sweetness that called to him every hour of the day. He would love to kiss her again, but right now he would settle with being able to hold her close to him. No one was taking her away from him.
Kara started to hum something, a sound so small that even in a silent night it would have been hard to hear. She smiled as he took another deep breath and nuzzled into her hair. Slowly they drifted off into a deep sleep, the deepest most serene either of them had ever had.
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