Being the firstborn son of any family has its fair share of responsibility, but that responsibility probably triples when you are the firstborn son a King. Your every move is watched and judged. Everyone has their idea of how you should behave and handle things. From a young age, my father pushed this “perfect image” onto my siblings and me, but I think after the untimely death of our mother and two little sisters, the need to be perfect was pushed even more. On me most of all. I never complained though. I just accepted that I was going to become the King of our country one day and I needed to act to the part. My whole life was planned out for me. I was going to get the best education money could buy; I would marry the princess of another country or the daughter of a Lord here in Eneth, produce an heir or two and wait for my father to pass his claim to the throne to me.
After the death of my mother and sisters, three days before my sixteenth birthday, my father assigned each of my brothers and I a personal guard. That was when I met him. The one who now holds my heart.
Krislar Vageiros. Despite being human, he was blessed by the gods with the gift of fire.
How my father allowed a sixteen-year-old human to become my personal guard, I will never understand. He has always made it very clear how much he detests humans. But apparently, Krislar proved himself quite capable of doing his job. The fact that he was raised by elves also probably had a hand in my father’s final decision as well as the fact that he was a Pyromancer.
Krislar and I got along quite well. Neither of us talked very much, and we both understood that we had duties to perform. Mine to become King and his to protect my life even at the cost of his own. As the years went by, we started to get closer. On my twenty-first birthday, Krislar escorted me to my room after the grand party that had been thrown for me. Instead of saying our goodbyes, I pulled him into my room and kissed him. Just a quick peck on the lips to test. We stared at each other for a painfully long time before he pulled me to him again pressed his lips to mine. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I had him on my bed. Hands exploring each other’s bodies, bare skin rubbing against bare skin, lips crashing together in a needy, lustful manner. That night I realized how much I loved him and how much he loved me.
After that, every spare moment we had to ourselves was used to sneak playful or loving kisses, or we used that time to simply talk and get to know each other and learn everything we could about the other. Krislar spent almost every night in my room. The nights he spent in my room did not always consist of very much sleeping.
Because we had to keep our relationship a secret we had to keep up an act outside of my room. We couldn’t act like we were very close when we walked Krislar had to follow behind me at least 3 paces at all times and speak only when spoken too. Leaving no room for strolls through the castle gardens hand in hand as we laughed and talked about anything our hearts desired.
We have kept this secret from everyone for nearly 5 years now, aside from my brother, Sorey. Who found out by accident about a year after we confirmed our feelings for one another. But he promised to never tell anyone, and he was actually quite happy for me.
The last five years of my life have been some of the best years. They have had there up and downs, but I feel like there have been more ups. But who knew that a just a few words could destroy that blissful happiness.
It was a night like any other. My father, two younger brothers and I were sitting at the table having dinner together with the addition of the Eshoss family. They were a very wealthy noble family that had been friends with ours for generations. Every couple of months they would make the week-long trip from their home and spend a week here before returning home once more.
We sat around the table in silence as we ate the feast that had been prepared for us by the servants. My father sat at the head of the table, Lord Eshoss opposite of him and me on his right, Sorey on his left. Kiran sat beside Sorey with, Serris, Lord Eshoss’ youngest daughter on his other side then Alren, Lord Esshoss’ youngest son, sat on the end next to his father. Next to me was the eldest daughter, Elora. Then the two remaining Eshoss boys, Elidyr and Alandorr, sat on the other side of her. Alandorr being the one closest to their father.
It was quiet until my father spoke up saying, “Well, Alinar,” Referring to Lord Eshoss. “Do you think we should tell them the good news now?”
Everyone looked up from their meals and glanced at him. Everyone had a look of confusion and curiosity except for Lord Eshoss who had a grin played across lips.
“Now seems like as good a time as any,” Alinar replied.
The two older men seemed especially excited about the news they were about share with the rest of us.
“What are you two going on about?” Alandoor asked, raising a brow.
Alinar placed his elbows on the table and folded his hands together as he looked at the King, still grinning ear to ear. “Should I tell them or do you want to?”
The King mirrored Lord Eshoss’ grin on his own face, and he shook his head. “No, no, I’ll tell them.” He then turns that broad smile to me, and I felt a sense of dread fill me. His smile was contagious, and I couldn’t help but smile back at him.
“What is it, father?” I was almost afraid to ask.
“Alinar and I have found the perfect women for the take as your wife!” He said gleefully.
My smile faltered and quickly turned into a look of shock. I hear Sorey choke on his drink across from me. Aside from Sorey’s coughing fit, everyone was silent for a moment as the news sunk in.
My heart was pounding now as I dared to ask, “W-who is this... lovely lady you two have found?”
My father turned back to Alinar and waved his hand for him to answer my question. Alinar looked at his eldest daughter saying, “Your lovely wife to be is none other than my daughter, Elora!” He raised a hand and extend it to her.
Everyone started to clap, even the servants and guards who stood in the back of the room. The only ones not applauding were Elora and me. Sorey had hesitated before nervously joined in. I resisted the urge to turn and look at Krislar whom I knew was standing behind me against the wall. I could only imagine the look on his face. I’m sure it looked a lot like mine right about now.
I slowly looked over at Elora beside me to see what she thought of all of this. She didn’t have the same shocked and terrified look like me. Instead, she looked like someone had just said something offensive to her the way her jaw hung open as she stared at her father.
Moments later she was on her feet and slammed her hand onto the table making everyone jump. “No!” she shouted over the clapping. “Father what are you saying? How could I possibly marry him?” she asked, pointing an accusing finger in my direction.
The grin faded from the Lord’s face and was replaced with a deep frown. “Why on earth not?” A hint of warning in his voice telling her she needed to think carefully about the next words she spoke.
“I already told you, I’m not going to marry anyone! I’m going to join the Kings guard!” She stated. I remembered her mentioning that during one of our small conversations we had managed to keep up.
“I told you we were not going to discuss this again. It has already been decided and besides,” The Lord suddenly looked at me, “I’m sure Octavian is ecstatic about marrying a beautiful woman such as yourself. Aren’t you lad?” His tone told me he was practically daring me to say otherwise.
I nearly jumped out of my skin when my father clapped me on the back. “Of course he is!” He beamed.
I looked down at my hands in my lap. “No...” my voice was quiet but not quite enough because my father heard me.
“No? What do you mean no?” I could feel his gaze burning holes in my head as he waited for an explanation.
I took a calming breath before looking my father in the eye and putting a bit more power in my voice. “I said, no.” My voice was firm as I willed any emotion off of my face. “I refuse. Forgive me father but I can not and will not marry, Elora.”
My father is on his feet in an instant. “Octavian Zayos Kieric Nicholtero,” I resist the urge to flinch as he uses my full name. “You must have forgotten that you are 26 now and it is high time you married and started a family!” I felt sick at the word “family.” not because I didn’t want kids but because I hated the idea of laying with a woman. “I have been more than generous in giving you 5 years to find a wife on your own, but you have pushed my hand here.” He continued. “It has already been agreed upon so you will marry Elora whether you like it or not!”
“Father! You can’t be serious!” Elora yelled.
“Sit down and hold your tongue!” Lord Eshoss hissed. “Corym is right, it is time that you two got married and what better than for you two to marry ea-”
“No.” I interrupted Lord Eshoss. Holding my father murderous gaze as I talked back to him. “You can punish me, revoke my claim to the throne; I don’t care, but I won’t marry Elora.”
I clenched my jaw as pain flared through the side of my face. I heard several surprised gasps around the room.
“Octavian!” I heard my bothers yell in unison.
Sorey stood up fast enough that his chair fell back onto the floor. “You have gone to far this time, father!” He shouted.
“Silence!” Our father bellowed at him. Sorey flinched when father turned his enraged gaze on him.
I heard Kiran’s soft whimpers moved my eyes to see him struggling to hold back his frightened tears. Sorey was quick to act, pulling their little brother up from his chair and around behind him. Our father hated when any of us showed any form of weakness such as crying and Kiran had always been a bit of a crybaby. So Sorey and I constantly did what we could to keep him away from our father.
“Don’t you dare start crying.” The King growled making Kirans small body tremble. Sorey leaned down and whispered something in his ear and then nudged him towards the tall, burly man that stood behind them against the wall like the rest of our personal guards. Kiran’s personal guard, Assuca Izago, was close to seven feet tall. So when Kiran ran to the giant and wrapped his arms around the man’s waist, he looked like a small child. Assuca gave Sorey and I a slight nod and led our younger brother out of the room. Before the doors were closed behind them, I saw Assuca pick Kiran up and start rubbing his back as he no doubt carried his little prince back to his room till he calmed down.
Once Kiran was safely out of harm’s way I turned my gaze back to my father. “You can yell and hit me all you want but don’t you ever raise your voice to him like that.” The king’s eyes bulged in utter disbelief that quickly turned to anger.
Before he could say any more, I swiftly turn to our company who were all staring and still very much present. I bowed at the hips to them all. “Please forgive my refusal and the quarrel you, unfortunately, had to witness.” I apologized then quickly straightened and rushed to the double doors to escape this horrible night this dinner had turned into. I heard Krislar hot on my heels as I briskly walked through the doors that were opened for me. I took a right and headed down the halls blindly. My mind was whirling, and I felt sick as I almost ran back to my room. The clinking of metal told me Krislar wasn’t far behind.
It didn’t take long for me to reach the door to my room. I threw the door open and stumbled in, not bothering to close it behind me. I heard it close, and the click of the lock sliding into place followed.
“Octavian?” Came the voice I longed to hear. It was full of worry. I turned to face Krislar and looked him up and down for a second. He wore a simple red tunic, brown breeches, and knee-high black leather boots. His sword was securely tied to his belt at his hip. The top half of his shoulder-length red hair was pulled back from his face aside from a few stray strands.
I strode over to him and grabbed his shoulders before pushing his back against the door and pressing my lips to his. He let out a surprised grunt but didn’t try and shove me away. Just returned my kiss.
So many emotions were wreaking havoc in my head, and I wanted so badly to forget them all. But I couldn’t keep it in any longer, and warm tears started for streak down my cheeks. Our kiss was broken as my body convulsed from me trying to hold in the horrible sounds I knew I would make if I started to cry. Krislar wrapped his arms around my back and pulled me closer to him. One hand rubbed soothing circles on my back while to the other stroked my head as he whispered hush words into my ear.
“Shhh, it’s okay. I’m here.” His words broke me, and I could no longer hold it back, and I sobbed into his shoulder uncontrollably as I clung to him.