Chapter 3- The good prince
Kara shut the door and pressed her forehead to it. She heard his footsteps fading away and a sudden pain consumed her, it was not physical, this was different, like her body was missing something. Or perhaps...someone.
“You should stay away from that beast,” said the particularly hateful voice of Tronta.
Shocked Kara turned to face the woman who was sitting by the fire “What?”
“You do not want to be associated with the likes of his kind,” the woman said nonchalantly.
Kara felt her anger rising. How dare this woman insult Marko like that? “He is not a bad man Tronta. He is not a beast.”
“Just because the wolf hasn’t shown his teeth doesn’t mean he can’t bite. He, like the rest of them, is dangerous.”
“I know he is dangerous, I am not blind or naive. There is anger in him just as there is anger in the villagers here. But that is not enough reason to shun him, or the others,” Kara said, her hands now shaking with agitation she moved to pace the room.
“He is a monster all of them, they take women, kill men -”
“They saved this town, he saved me!” Kara said not attempting to hide her anger. Tronta stared at her like she was crazy. “So please, stop insulting him, because you insult me too.”
“I will not stand for this!” The woman said outraged. “My house will not be associated with a wolf lover, I will give you one week to leave.”
Kara narrowed her eyes. “Don’t worry two days will be enough.” Marko would be gone by then and nothing would remain to keep her interest in this forsaken village. “Now if you don’t mind, I’ll put an end to this pointless conversation.” With that she turned, walked to her room and shut the door so loud it should have come off its hinges.
It was the middle of the night and Marko could still hear her tossing and turning in her bed. It drove him mad thinking of her under such stress that she couldn’t even sleep at night. Then again neither could he, the thought of her being in danger and not being able to protect her kept him wide-awake. He sat near the great barn in front of the small house Kara lived in.
He wanted to go inside take her in his arms and tell her that they would not only have two days, they would have an eternity to see each other. An eternity to explore each other’s mind, body and soul. And oh how he wanted to explore her every curve, her every tickle spot and every tender muscle in need of the attention of his hands.
His rambling thoughts were shattered by the sound of soft footsteps. “It’s not nice to sneak up on people Yenive,” Marko said as his sister came around the corner of the barn.
“I thought I might find you around here. And I was not sneaking up on you. If I was you wouldn’t have heard me at all,” she said with a playful smile.
Marko swallowed, knowing that what she said was true. His sister was the best spy in the whole kingdom, capable of slitting a man’s throat and escaping without being seen. She was like a ghost in the night. “You are terrifying baby sister.”
“Ah you’re not too bad yourself brother,” she said coming to sit beside him offering him a cup. In it was a thick substance, it sloshed around the container staining the walls crimson red. The color seemed to stand out even in the dim darkness of the night. The smell of it was familiar, a mix of iron and cherries that had once appealed to him, but now it made him nauseous. The thought of drinking it made chills run up his arms and his stomach twist in protest. “Kendra told me that you haven’t drank from her since we got here. She is worried... and frankly so am I. You need to feed brother.”
“I don’t want it, I am not hungry for her,” he said with a warning in his voice for her to leave the subject alone.
“No, you want her,” Yenive said pointing towards Kara’s house. “But her blood is not all you want of her, is it brother?” She looked at Marko’s tense expression and knew her suspicions were correct. “You should be with her. It doesn’t do either of you good to be separated; I can hear her tossing in her sleep. She needs you, soon the pain will start to affect her and you know how painful the separation can be for Royal m-”
“NO!” Marko jumped to his feet. “You don’t understand, she... she is good, understanding, she seems to care more for others than for her own health.”
“And you are not good enough for her?” His sister said coming to stand beside him.
“I can only bring her pain and danger, sister.”
“You will make her happy, the same way she makes you smile, and heaven knows I have missed that smile of yours. Yet, only one look from her is enough to summon one from you,” she said softly. “So brother you will have to give me a better excuse than that to reject her.”
“I do not reject her, she is mine, but…” He frowned looking at the house.
“But what?” Yenive said louder than she should have.
“She is not human.” He turned to her quickly “She is something else, something extraordinary. I think I experienced part of her Fae magic, and sister that was impressive. But there is more to her that just Fae, I can sense it. The way she reacted to my blood she liked it, and not like a ma -”
“You fed her blood?” She hissed.
“Yes,” he sighed. “She had a broken arm when I saw her. I didn’t expect her to be mine... my mate.” The word made him smile. “So I fed her a drop, enough to heal her, it was a harmless act. Blood cannot change her feelings or reactions towards me.”
“I know. But the blood links her to you. Seriously what has dad told you about mates? If she had been any other person, sharing blood would have been a one-time thing, but she is your mate. You were supposed to give her a chance to reject you.”
“She still can,” Marko said with a growl.
“No, not really. The bond has already started, the separation will only make it worse.”
Worry set in his eyes at the sound of Yenive’s serious words “What do you mean?”
“I mean, that if you two really are mates then you must complete the bond or fade away in pain and… die”
He breathed deeply and raked a hand through his black hair. “Is there any way to undo this? I would love to steal her away, but she needs to choose for her own. The day will come when she will be queen, my queen and mother of my children. I would never be able to look at her knowing that she had no other option but to be with me.”
Yenive could see his sadness, although the mention of children brought a light to his eyes that made her smile. She had never imagined Marko as a loving father. But here under the light of the moon she could see the type of man he could truly be. The type of king that worried about his people, about his family. A king who believes in free will.
“Then don’t tell her. Let her make the choice. Ask her to leave with us”
“And if she says ‘no’?”
“Then bite her, and drink her blood, seal the bond... and I’ll erase her memory of us,” she sighed, it never made her happy to use that power but it had been key to many of her adventures “It’s the only way to make sure that she lives, that you both live.” She neared him and gave him a hug. He was tense, his wolf tugging at his restraints. “It will all be okay, Marky,” she said softly using the name she used to call him by when they were children.
He gave her a halfhearted smile and nodded. He stayed in the small circle of his sister’s embrace until she yawned and left to go to sleep. Not before telling him to get some sleep as well, but he couldn’t. His wolf needed release, to be free and wild. He needed to hunt and keep his mind off Kara. His wolf side understood the situation, enough to let Kara be for tonight and concentrate on checking the perimeter for any threats.
Marko walked off into the forest and began the bittersweet pain of the transformation. His skin burned to the touch as it started to tighten, his muscles becoming too big to be contained in flesh. He hissed as his skin tore and blue-grey fur materialized under it. His bones extended, popping and shifting earning shallow growls from him. His growl became louder as he finished a few minutes later, shaking off the lingering tingle of the shift he darted into the forest.
As he ran he gave out a deep howl letting out his anger and frustrations.
“Marko!” Kara said in panic waking from a dreamless and restless sleep. She was sweating and shaking. She could have sworn she had heard him calling her, needing her. She put a hand to her forehead and chuckled thinking. He is a werewolf, he doesn’t need me.
She stood looking out her window, noticing the light of early day. She went to her dresser to clean her face with the bowl of water that sat on it. She wet her face relishing in the cool feel of the water. She looked at her reflection in the old mirror in front of her.
The image in the mirror was of a young woman, she looked lost and without guidance in a world of blood and terror. A woman who had no place to call home, no one alive to call family, and no one to care for what happened to her.
She closed her eyes remembering Marko’s words in their conversation.
“Please? I just want to help you,” he said extending his hand to her.
“What do you mean why? Your hurt, I can help. Now let me help.”
‘Hurt’ that word alone described her life, a series of painful events that had left no room for laughter or happiness. Until he came along, it surprised her how much she smiled with him around, and at times she even forgot her past. All because of him and his grey eyes that seem to glow like beacons, calling her to him.
Kara shook her head trying to get the thoughts of him out of her mind, but it was impossible. How can one man affect her so much that the thought of being away from him made her muscles ache for his light touch? It was impossible and completely ridiculous to feel this way, she had only met him yesterday for crying out loud and yet she felt as if she had been waiting for him her whole life. She closed her eyes trying to regain herself, just the thought of him made her pulse accelerate.
She stepped back and turned to look at her room, remembering that she was to leave in one day. She opened a drawer and removed a bag, stuffing it with gowns and other clothes remembering to leave a set for the next day. She was almost finished packing her non-essential belongings when her hands started to shake.
“I have nowhere to go,” Kara whispered. The thought didn’t bring her fear, but it made her feel lost. It meant having to find another village to move into and trying to fit in, in hopes that this time no vampires would find her.
She finished packing what she could and sat back on her bed. She felt no desire to sleep, but the bed gave her much welcomed warmth.
She sat there for a while until the village started to come to life. She then got up and dressed appropriately in a dark blue gown that modestly accented the curve of her waist. She pulled her hair into a half bonnet so that part of it draped down her back and over her shoulders.
She was eating some bread and cheese when the sound of a light knock on the front door made her heart jumped imagining a handsome man looking down at her with a smirk on his lips. She opened the door with a smile on her face, but was surprised to find another person instead.
“Hello, Kara!” Said Yenive, her eyes were bright and playful but somewhere in the back of them Kara could see worry.
“Yenive... how are you today?” Kara said stepping outside to avoid Tronta’s accusing gaze.
“I’m great, how about yourself?”
“Oh, I’m fine.” Yenive could sense the lie.
“Well, I was wondering if you would walk with me for a while. I heard there is a stream around here and I was thinking you might want to go with me and have a picnic.”
“Hmm... Okay,” Kara said thinking that being away from the town would do her good, especially if it kept her from looking for Marko. That was all she wanted to do right now. To find him, just to see him. But her self-restraint told her not to give into her impulses.
“I have something to pick up from camp and then we can go, would you come with me?” The grey-eyed girl asked.
Kara nodded. “Let me get my coat.”