Chapter 30: Farewell My Love
Three raps on the door, each swiftly followed by the other, extracted our attention from the book it was previously invested in. Fear stirred inside me, whereas nothing but calmness was being projected in Vincent’s aura. Understanding the fear brewing within me, Vincent put away the leather bound book about the history of his family, which he formerly was reading out to me, and gently took my face in his skillful hands. Placing a feather light kiss on my forehead, he whispered, “There are friends on the other side of the door, no foes. You can relax,”
Staring into his captivating eyes, I gave him a slight nod, which was rewarded with a beautiful smile from him. Pushing his tall frame off the cushion; we were perched on, onto his leather boot clad feet, and slipped into a shirt, before moving to open the door. Following his suit, I scrambled on to my own feet, and walked after him.
Three men, dressed in black from head to toes, stepped over the thresh hold, and made their way in towards the fire crackling in the living room fireplace. Soaking in the heat, they looked around the room. On spotting me; standing behind Vincent, all three of them gave a swift bow.
“What do you bring along, good or bad news?” asked Vincent with a manner laced with authority, but not cruelty.
“Part good and part bad news, your highness,” was the reply, coming from the older of the three; a grey haired man with weather beaten features, and eyes that held clear signs of witnessing one too many horrors over the span of life, “King Julius Ivashkov of the Ivashkov Dynasty, Prince Hades Pettifyer of the Incenitti Empire, King SulimanAttaturk of the Turkish Dynasty, and Lord Sebastian Stark of Kazam have agreed to provide you with support, in return for acceptance of some of their reasonable demands. The demands of each individual have been put on paper, and sent for your consideration. If we get the support of all of these four people, you will have an army of twenty three hundred thousand men at your back, but ...”
“But this number could be quadrupled if we rally support from Senor Gritti.”
“Yes, my prince, exactly that. The private armies that Senor Gritti has under his command all over the world will be a game changing support for us, but Senor has refused to lend us his armies or provide any form of support.”
“What are his demands, perhaps we could negotiate?”
“Your highness, he placed no demands, but flat out refused to help.”
I silently listened to the men, discussing the current political state of the empire and their next form of action. From what I had in my knowledge regarding the army of king Cedric, things were not looking good for Vincent, and that worried me beyond any bounds. Before the war, father had sixty seven hundred thousand men under his command. Assuming that the war had a rather high casualty rate than usual for the army of Estercrest empire, and keeping in view the fact that a faction of the army desserts and joins their fugitive prince, still the King will have an army on his beck and call that could crush twenty three hundred thousand supporters of Vincent like mere bugs crawling on the ground.
I was still going over the less than pleasant thoughts, when my name being called in the husky voice of Vincent pulled me out of the reverie. Taking my hands in his bigger ones, Vincent placed delicate kisses on the back of my palms, sending delightful shivers through my being. His thumbs gliding back and forth over my knuckles were severely causing me to lose the chain of my thoughts. I had to work hard on focusing on the words he spoke, rather than staring at his lips moving and imagine them moving over my lips.
“My love, I have to leave as of now. I cannot stay in hiding forever, and still keep the support of people out there who are endangering their lives for my sake, and who believe in me. I will have to pay a visit to all those men in power offering me support, draw up and sign pacts with them, before I march out towards Beygul with the army.”
When his words registered in my brain, my gut constricted with utmost fear and worry. I placed a hand on his cheek, and caressed his smooth skin with to and fro movements of my thumb. His eyes locked with mine, as he leaned into my touch. For long movements no words transpired between us, but then there was no need of words. In that moment our eyes sang the song of all the emotions we felt. Placing his hand over mine, Vincent tilted his head slightly, and placed a kiss on the skin of my palm.
“I would have asked you to stay Vincent, but I know far too well that I am the selfish one while you are not. You would not abandon all those people who dare to hope for a better future for themselves and stand behind you. You are a blessing for hundreds of thousands of people, not just me alone.”
“You are not selfish, Eleanor. You are unique, different, a breath of fresh air, a fire, a soul so beautiful that reflects in the glow of your beautiful face. It saddens me that I wasted so much time which I could have spent with you in the past, but nothing could be more heavenly than the days and nights I spent in your arms.”
Tears began to slide down my cheeks, as I watched Vincent pour his heart out into the words he was whispering to me. I knew no better reply than kissing him, and that is exactly what I did. Grabbing his collar I pulled his face closer, and crashed my lips on his. I melted into his embrace, and kissed him with desperation till my lungs burnt intolerably due to unavailability of oxygen, not batting an eye at the fact that three sets of eye were fixed on me and my prince.
“Be safe,” I whispered, on his lips as I stared into his hazel orbs.
“I will, and Eleanor you please stay here, so I do not have to worry about your safety.”
“I will,” I replied, smiling to reassure him even if I planned on doing exactly the opposite.
Flashing me a smile, Vincent walked into the bedroom, and dressed up to head out. I watched him dress up before giving him a searing kiss.
“I love you,” he said out loud, as he stepped out of the house and mounted his horse.
Sorrow and fear hung in the air as Vincent rod away with the three men in tow, leaving nothing other than clouds of dust hanging in air behind him.