|The Ancient Blood
Author: XxXSwordsmanXxX PM
Princess Carissa does not agree with the way that the Lycan race has been treated. Especially when she meets Jack, an Ancient Blood Lycan. Together they learn about the mysteries of Jack's blood line and what can be done to free the Lycans from slavery.Rated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Adventure - Chapters: 6 - Words: 35,980 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 03-20-13 - Published: 11-17-12 - id: 3075242
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Veronica got everyone up early on a Saturday morning nearly a week after the attack by the Minotaur. Malak, Carissa, and she rode out into the countryside of the kingdom before stopping at their usual spot for a lunch. The three of them laughed and remembered all of the times that they had spent in that very field together when Carissa was only a child. From the tree that they all carved their initials into to the first day that Carissa had tried to swim. Veronica took Carissa for a walk commanding Malak to stay behind so that the two of them could have a talk. Walking to the stream Veronica took a deep breath and did her best to speak to Carissa as a mother instead of as a queen. "Jack told me a few things," Veronica started, "after the Minotaur attacked."
Carissa paused looking down before grabbing a stone and chucking it into the water in an attempt to skip it with little success. "Just forget what he said. I was high strung that day after nearly being killed," she said picking up another stone. "I didn't mean what I said."
"I think that you did, Carissa," Veronica said as she stepped beside her daughter. "I think that you meant every word, and you were right." Veronica said as she leaned down picking up a smooth round stone. "I do focus on my 'list' more than being your mother and that is wrong of me. I should never have done that." Carissa chucked the rock in her hand making it crash into the water with a solid 'plunk.' A stone skipped and jetted across the water making it all the way across the river as Veronica smiled when Carissa looked at her surprised. "What? Did you think I was always a queen? I was like you once. I wanted to live life as I wanted and didn't want to get married to some snobby prince. Then I met your father and everything changed. I shouldn't push it. Not like my mother did. You take your time and find the right one. I got lucky when I was pushed into marriage with your father. I don't think luck like that comes around often."
Carissa was shock as she started at her mother. "But, what changed your mind?" Carissa asked not fully understanding everything that was going on right then.
"Nearly losing your daughter makes you think about things, and Jack telling me how you really felt helped push things along. Jack is special and he seems to understand things more than we give him credit for." Veronica giggled with Carissa before they shared a long embrace. "Let's head back. If we leave your father too long he is bound to get himself into some kind of trouble." Carissa nodded walking beside her mother with a smile on her face saying a silent 'thank you' to Jack.
Before anyone knew it, the attack in the castle dining
room was in the past and the ball was underway for Carissa's birthday. "But why do we have to have Prince Leiko here?" Carissa groaned. "Out of all the suitors I hate him the most." Carissa folded her arms across her chest as she pouted. "He is about as much company as a boar."
"Carissa you and I both know that we can't have a ball and not have all of your suitors there," Veronica said as she patted Carissa's shoulder while helping her pick out a dress. "If we sent an invitation to everyone but a few then they would see it as an insult." She pulled an elegant dress holding it up to Carissa turning her head this way and that. "What do you think about this one?"
"It's fine, Mom," Carissa said. She actually did like the dress it was actually one of her favorites. Dark blue fabric that shimmered in the light like it was made of water with silver, floral designs and a silver tie around her waist. "Do I have to dance with all of them?"
"Do you want me to tell you a little secret that I used to do?" Veronica said as she moved in close. "After a few dances say that you feel light headed and have to sit down keep rubbing your temple like you have a headache and just apologize to the people that ask you to dance, and say that you aren't feeling very well."
Carissa giggled. "I bet you did that to Dad, huh?" she said as he moved behind the sectional wall to change.
"I did try; but, your father was very persistent in dancing with me," Veronica smiled as she thought back to that night. "Your father was very handsome and he simply would not take no for an answer. I think it was that that made me start to fall in love with him. So, reluctantly I accepted and danced with him then went back and sat down for the night." Carissa stepped out from behind the sectional and twirled letting the long fabric flare out. Veronica covered her smile with both hands. "Oh, you look absolutely radiant dear. Well, I have to see how the decorations in the ball room are coming along. I will see you soon." Veronica left heading to the large room where servants ran all over putting up large drapes of cloth and lighting candles for the evening. "Jack," Veronica called moving toward the black furred Lycan.
Jack was holding a table that would have taken four men to move as he turned a little to Veronica. "How can I help you, your Majesty?" Jack asked with a small bow.
"I would like for you to be a server tonight. I guess I have sort of become reliant on you to protect my daughter. What do you say?"
"I don't know how to do it, but I will try. May I be allowed to make a request, Highness?" Veronica looked at him expectantly her eyes gentle as she waited. "Give Markus the night off. He works very hard and he is worn very thin with this. I think he might just collapse if he has to cook all night long."
Veronica gave him a very warm smile. "Do you ever think about asking things for yourself?" she asked rhetorically. "I will have a message sent that Markus the cook is to be relieved of his duties for the evening." Jack bowed gently as he resumed putting the larger and heavier things in place for the ball that evening.
Moving tables and large chairs seemed to be all that Jack was used for. The people still feared him so he would be asked to set things up in areas with little to no people. When Jack was told that he had no more to do and would be called when it was time for him to return he quickly headed up to Carissa's room. Carissa turned to the door at the sound of the sharp rapping on the wooden surface. "Come in," she said standing at the center of the room in her ball gown. Jack quickly stepped in and smiled. "Were you able to do it?"
"Yes, Princess," Jack said with a smile spreading over his muzzle.
"Good, I already gave Jezebel the letter and the order and Markus should have received his letter as well. Come on," Carissa said with excitement hurrying to the window to watch with Jack.
Down in the garden beside the rows of tulips was a small table that was just large enough for two and was decorated with fine placements and candles to see. Markus stood there beside the table going over the order in his head. He was to prepare and serve the best dish that he could make. So he stood there dressed in the best clothes that he had with the letter that he was supposed to deliver to the lady that would arrive there shortly.
Jezebel arrived looking at the letter in her hand sealed by the princess. Looking up she stopped in her tracks seeing Markus standing there by a candle lit dinner. The two looked at each other with the same confused expression on their faces. Jezebel was the first to break the silence. "Markus, what are you doing here?"
"I was told to make my best meal and deliver this letter to the young lady that would arrive. What about you?" Markus said rubbing the back of his neck with a small chuckle.
"I was told to deliver this letter to the man I found here," Jezebel said as she tries to work it all over in her head. "I think that we have been set up."
"I think that you are right in that regard, Jezebel," Markus shrugged. "Well, I was told that I was to give this to the woman that arrived and I think that you are the only woman that will be coming." He held out the letter in his hand as the two exchanged the documents. Opening up the folded parchments the two of them sighed before laughing. "Definitely a set up. Does your letter order you to stay, have dinner, and have a good night?"
"How did you guess?" Jezebel said as she shrugged. "Well, orders are orders, I suppose." Markus pulled out the chair for her and smiled. Jezebel blushed before she slowly walked forward letting Markus push the seat beneath her. Markus began to serve the food that he had created unknowingly for the woman that he cared for. Jezebel and Markus smiled as the spoke softly to one another as the light began to fade and the glow of the candles basked the two in a warm aura.
"Come on," Carissa sighed turning to the door. "We should leave them be and I have to head down now." Carissa said leaving. "I hate all of this being proper that I have to go through on a daily basis. And the suitors, gods I hate the suitors." Carissa spoke more to herself then to Jack who followed her closely.
Jack was called away to get dressed and prepared for his night of serving and walking among the guests. Carissa went to the top of the stairs that led into the ball room. With determined steps and deep breaths she slowly came into the light at the top of the large stair. The entire room was covered in fabrics of blue, white, and silver shimmering in the glow of the candle light. Carissa slowly descended the stairs on a carpet of blue felt as the gasps and murmurs of praise filled the air in a gentle hum. Stretching out before her was the tiled floor of the ball room gleaming in the soft ambiance of the candlelight and ringed with large tables for dining. Carissa had not even made it all the way down the stairs before she was surrounded by the suitors of the kingdoms and provinces, each of them asking to have a dance.
Just as her mother had told her she would dance with the suitors that sought to win her heart. Carissa smiled the whole time as she was expected to do though it was a betrayal of how she actually felt. Each suitor would try to flatter her with the same compliments and lines of promises to make her happy. Quickly growing tired of it, Carissa actually found herself getting a headache and excused herself before Leiko had a chance to ask her to dance. She rubbed her temple and walked up to the large rise that her seat rested on with her mother and father. "I see that you took my advice," Veronica said quietly.
"I can't take much more of this. I actually have a headache from all of them," Carissa said rubbing both of her temples.
"Can I help, Princess?" A deep voice said.
Carissa groaned as she turned, "Will you leave me be? I have a terrible head…Oh." Carissa looked Jack over now dressed in a large servant's tux of white, his black fur contrasting perfectly with the fabric. Jack's ears were low as her reaction to him was rather harsh and made it seem like he had done something wrong. Jack nodded as he turned to walk away and continue his rounds about the ball room. "Wait, Jack, I am sorry. I didn't mean to snap at you like that. I just have a headache from all of the suitors."
Jack nodded as he turned to her holding out water on a rather large serving platter. "Perhaps some water will help, Princess," Jack said with a smile.
Carissa nodded as she took one of the crystal glass filled with water as a rainbow was thrown onto the table in front of her. "Isn't that the platter they use to serve the pig on for the banquets?" Carissa giggled.
"I am afraid that the normal serving trays were too small for my hands," he said with a small chuckle.
"They are rather large aren't they?" Veronica said. "I'll bet that you can crush a watermelon with one hand."
"I don't really know, your majesty. I have never been given the opportunity," Jack said with a bow as he continued around the ballroom giving out glass of water and wine to all that asked. Every noble reacted to him in a different fashion. Some regarded him with a sort of fear while others were more amazed by not only his stature but his apparent gentleness.
Thorn stood at the back of the ball room while watching Jack with a look of disgust plain on his face. To say that Jack was gentle was like saying that a Cobra was not venomous in his eyes. Thorn scoffed leaving the ball room to stand on the balcony that overlooked the land that stretched out into the moonlit night. Swirling the glass of wine in his hand he muttered under his breath that they should be rid of Jack. "I see that you and I have the same opinion of that brutish creature in there," said the diplomatic voice of Prince Leiko.
Thorn turned his blue tunic flapping against his leg in the wind. "Prince Leiko. You honor me with your presence," Thorn said bowing to the black clad noble. A decorative silver dagger that was shoved into the belt that the prince wore caught Thorn's eye
"There is no need for such formality when we are alone like this," Leiko said clapping a hand on Thorn's shoulder. "Tell me, what do you think of that fur covered monstrosity in there?"
"He is a vile creature that needs to be put down like that beast that he is," Thorn said through clenched teeth. Balling up his hands he could feel his nails biting into his palm to the point of drawing blood. "Those monsters cannot be trusted and are nothing more than vicious animals."
"I don't disagree with you; however, with him in the good graces of the king there is little to be done I would think." Leiko sighed as he looked back into the ballroom his dark eyes narrowing in on Carissa. "Tell me, does the princess have her eyes set on one of the suitors in particular? Or is she just as difficult with all of us?"
"It is my understanding that Princess Carissa has not chosen a suitor yet. Though we all know that you are the most likely candidate." Thorn took a sip of wine as the cool wind blew against the duo with a strong gust. "I believe that she will come around eventually."
"I hope that you are right. I have another question for you. I hear that that thing is locked up on the full moon due to him being dangerous on that particular night. It is wise to have him among so many guests with the full moon arriving tomorrow?" Leiko left before Thorn could answer, but his purpose had been accomplished. Thorn's suspicion of Jack had gotten stronger with such a simple question. Tossing the remainder of his wine over the rail of the balcony he made it his personal mission to keep a close eye on the Ancient Blood.
Jack sighed as he could feel the eyes on him though he was glad that not all of them were of fear or hatred. Rounding a corner to go refill his tray, Jack was stopped by the imposing, yet short, figure of Prince Leiko. "I can see that their majesties have become rather trusting of you," Leiko said with a huff. "I must say that our castle you would not be given such treatment."
"That is of course for you to do at your castle, sire," Jack said noting the rather hateful look on Leiko's face.
"And at this castle if I have my way," Leiko said stepping closer to Jack and looked up into those golden eyes. "You see mutt. I will have Princess Carissa as my bride and when I do your kind will be put to work back in the mines."
The malice in Leiko's words seem to stir something within Jack that made him want to slash his claws into the noble's chest and rip out his heart. "I am afraid that I won't be able to continue this conversation, sire. I have many duties that I must attend to." Jack attempted to walk around Leiko, who stepped into his path once again.
"Oh, does the stupid mutt want to pretend that he is human? You will never be accepted by them. And I promise you that when I am king you will never again see the light of day." Jack slowly began to lose his composure with the threats that the prince was making as well as the effect of the coming full moon. "I will put you in the deepest darkest hole that I can find and leave you there until the ending of days." Leiko sneered with a dark grin spread across his features.
"Then I will have to hope that the Princess does not decide to take you as her mate," Jack said with a small snarl rolling over his snout before he brushed pasted the Leiko. A small chuckle came from Leiko's lips as he watched Jack walked away. While in the kitchen Jack refilled the glasses and took a breather from the infuriating Prince; but, a fear was deep in his heart as he thought over the words that Leiko had said to him. Of all the suitors he was the most likely to marry Carissa and everyone knew it. Lifting the large platter up once again he headed out into the ballroom.
Carissa yawned as the night wore on and she still sat upon her throne. It wasn't until she saw Leiko heading straight for her that she moved her hand to her temple as the almost forgotten headache returned with the roll of her eyes. "I must say that you have gotten that animal to behave quite well, your majesties," Leiko said looking to Malak and Veronica. "He is acting like quite the gentleman."
"He learns quickly and does the best that he can," Veronica said gently as she watched the towering Lycan attempt to slip between the tables keeping, his tail low so that it wouldn't hit any of the guests.
"I understand that he can be rather dangerous around this time of the lunar cycle though. Is there any truth to that?" Leiko asked. "If there is, I could only imagine the harm he could cause in his rampage. I find it admirable that you try to train him so well, instead of chaining him up deep in the dungeon. I mean if it was me, I wouldn't let him out of the dungeon that you put him in." Carissa sat in her chair silent grinding her teeth at the insults that Leiko kept spewing from his mouth.
"Jack does have issues at the time of the full moon, but he is very gentle the rest of the time as you can see," Malak said motioning to Jack as he stood in the center of a crowd that seemed to be discussing about different features of the black furred Lycan.
"You can't be serious. If that thing were to really let loose I bet that he could level this entire castle. He is obviously not smart enough to know the difference. That thing is little better than a wild animal that chews on raw meat and brawls for scra…" Leiko was suddenly cut off as a glass of wine was thrown into his face.
Carissa, holding a now empty crystal glass, had stood up refusing to hear another degrading word about Jack. "The one that you call little more than a wild animal has protected me several times and saved my life from that horrible Minotaur! Jack has been a more decent person than you could ever dream of achieving, and I will not tolerate you insulting and degrading him to his face or behind his back!" Carissa yelled her green eyes on fire, her hands shaking with the rage that she felt boiling her blood.
Leiko wiped the wine from his face with both hands. A dark scowl slowly crept over his face as he looked up to Carissa his black clothing now stained with red wine as he rose a hand to strike her with the back of his hand. Before the blow could be brought down Jack's massive hand grabbed hold of Leiko's forearm as a low and deep growl rumbled from Jack's chest. Leiko turned his dark eyes filled with a burning rage. "Get your hands off me, you damn dog!" Leiko roared pulling the silver dagger from its decorative sheath slashing over Jack's arm. With a pained roar, Jack pulled his hand back and dropped the large platter of glasses sending water, wine, and shards of crystal in all directions. The cut that now ran across Jack's arm burned like acid with a small amount of smoke curling up toward the ceiling. Carissa ran from her seat to Jack, who cradled his arm to his body in a burning pain. No blood came from the wound almost like it had been seared shut. "Why do you care so much about that monstrosity?!" Leiko screamed at Carissa still holding the dagger in his hand. "He is a slave, a piece of trash! You should be focusing on who it is that you are going to choose as your husband! Not this pile of garbage!"
Carissa turned standing and walked straight up to Leiko her temper running wild and out of her control. "Let's get one thing straight right now, at this moment I would prefer his company over yours any day! And another thing, as far as me choosing a husband, I will choose when I am ready; and, I would never marry an egotistical, narrow-minded, warmongering, selfish pig like you! It will NEVER happen!" The entire ballroom had gone silent during the entire ordeal. Carissa cut off Leiko before he could utter another word. "Guards! Please escort the Prince to his carriage. He will be leaving immediately."
Leiko gave out an irritated growl as the guards posted on either side of him. Cracking a sneer over his features he sheathed the dagger and ran his hand through his hair to slick it back now that the fin-like appearance was gone. "Well, it seems that you have some fire in you that your people are so well known for. Happy birthday, Princess. I will hope to see you again very soon." Leiko gave a bow before turning and leaving the ballroom with the escort of guards following right behind him.
The clink of glass and crystal brought Carissa's attention from the ballroom doorway to Jack who was still kneeling behind her, his massive hands trying in vain to pick up the broken glass that he had scattered across the floor. The thick callous' of Jack's hands and fingers cut by the sharps shards cutting into them. "What are you doing? You need to go see the healer immediately for that wound," Carissa said running over to him taking the platter out of his hand and setting it on the floor. "Leave this, we will get someone else to clean it up."
Jack looked to Carissa about to protest before several of the other servants had already arrived and were sweeping up the mess. "If you want to continue serving you will have to get that looked at first," a rather older server said with a small smile, his white ring of hair like the mantle of authority he had among the servers in the palace. Jack did not protest as he left still cradling his seared arm to his body.
Carissa watched Jack leave with a sad look in her eyes before turning to the crowd of people that had not moved from their place since Leiko's first outburst. "Dear friends," Carissa began, "I deeply apologize for what happened this evening, and my conduct was not befitting a future queen. I am truly grateful for all of you coming to celebrate my birthday, but I am afraid that the recent incident has put me out of a mood of celebration. I would like to call an end to this ball as I do not feel right to continue."
"As well you shouldn't," a voice called from the crowd getting several nods from the other guests.
"I thank you all for your understanding. I will bid you farewell as you leave, and thank you all again for attending this ball," Carissa ended before walking up to her seat once again. Veronica patted Carissa's hand gently with a proud look in her eyes. The guests all left and Carissa resigned herself to her room, still dressed in her evening gown she sat on the bench at the end of her bed. Her fingers gently ran over the smooth surface of the small journal that she held. She had just finished her most recent entry from the evening.
A knocking came at the door making Carissa look up with tired eyes. The ornate wooden door slowly swung open and Jezebel peeked her head in. Closing the door she sighed softly. "Princess, you look exhausted. You should get some rest," Jezebel said walking across the room to Carissa. "I heard what happened at the ball. I can't believe that Prince Leiko would go so far as to try and strike you."
"He did. It seems that he didn't like what I had to say," Carissa giggled softly as she was helped out of the dress and into a night gown. "I finally told Leiko what I think of him."
"I heard about that. I think your parents understand that you don't want anything to do with him."
"He just kept saying all these horrible things about Jack and I couldn't take it anymore. I just lost it." Carissa slowly slipped into the bed as her mind wandered to the different things that were on her mind. "I wonder if that is how Jack feels." Jezebel gave her a confused look prompting Carissa to explain the statement. "During the full moon. I wonder if he feels like I did. I didn't really feel like I was me. Like someone else was saying those words and I couldn't stop them from saying it."
"Maybe one day he will tell you." Jezebel pulled the covers over Carissa with a tender gaze. The young princess slowly fell into a restless sleep.
The night passed and the daylight came creeping over the horizon to bask the land in bright sunlight. The day of the full moon had come again and everyone seemed more nervous of the night that was going to follow. Only a month ago the roars of the Ancient Blood filled the halls of the castle threatening to bring it down. A few even conspired to cave the dungeon in so that Jack would be left in the dungeon to rot, though none were brave enough to actually attempt it. Jack felt the stares even more on this day. Even his sanctuary of the horse stable could not save him from the fearful looks. Today was the day that the horses could not cheer the large black Lycan up. Jack went about his duties in a slow manner as the day drug by. He would be alone tonight and everyone would only fear him more until he would be alone in the day as well.
When the sun began its final journey to the horizon he was escorted once again down into the dungeon with the smell of damp earth and moldy air clung to you. With the slam of the iron gate and the click of the lock that was now his cage to contain him he sat back against the wall on the freshly placed hay for his bedding. New bars had been put into place to make the cell stronger and more difficult to try and break out of. The torch that rested in its keeper was the only source of light to Jack, though his golden eyes could see much more than what the firelight revealed. The echo of the heavy wooden door opening rang in Jack's ears with the sound of soft footsteps approaching him. Carissa appeared in the torchlight holding a candle in a brass candlestick and in her other hand she held out a large plate of food. She was dressed in a night gown with a robe tied around her. "I thought that you might be hungry. You came down here before you could eat," Carissa said walking forward and sliding the food through the small hole for him. "Markus made it just for you."
"You will have to thank him for me, Princess," Jack said as his large hands took the wooden plate and began to eat satisfying his rumbling gut. "You should go soon, Princess. I won't be pleasant in a little while."
"I know what you are like Jack. I have been down here before." A curse brought Jack's attention to the guards behind Carissa that carried a large cot dressed with a fluffy mattress and a pile of blankets and pillows. Jack looked from the guards to Carissa again his head tilting in confusion. "I will be joining you down here."
"Princess, you can't. You will be in danger." Jack's shock nearly dropped the plate of food to the stone floor. "Please, Princess. Leave before anything happens."
"I must agree with him, Princess. It is not safe," one guard said as they set the cot down well outside of Jack's reach.
"I am very aware of the risks gentlemen. Now please go. He is locked in his cell and unless you wish to be down here for the night you best go lock the chamber door. The guards looked to one another unsure of whether they should leave or not. The fear that they had when they looked to Jack made the decision for them. They bowed to Carissa before quickly leaving the dungeon with a loud slam of the door and the heavy lock being thrown in place. Carissa sat down on the cot her hands pulling out the small, leather bound book from her pocket. "Now even if I wanted to leave I can't." Jack looked at her with sad, golden eyes. Setting the plate aside, having lost his appetite, he sighed laying his head back. "What's it like Jack?" Carissa asked boldly the book resting in her lap.
"Even now I can feel the wild side of me clawing to get out. It is stronger now with the full moon then I can't really say," Jack said his rumbling voice echoing through the dungeon. "It's like...my own body had become a prison. I can only get glimpses of what is going on and I can't control anything that I do." Jack looked to his hands as if the blood of those that he had killed while he was wild and feral were still there soaking his fur covered fingers. "And when I am me again I feel nothing but regret and horror at anything I might have done."
Carissa shivered pulling a blanket around her as the cold and damp air clung to her. She saw Jack's head slowly nodding until it rested in his chest like he was asleep. She smiled as she opened the book and began to write scrawling out a few things before a small growl got her attention. Looking up again she saw Jack shifting in his sleep, his muzzle twitching. Setting the book down, she stood up, pulling the blanket around her shoulders more, and approached the iron bars. "Jack?" she called out softly and then again a little louder. "Jack." The black lupine head shot up and looked to her with wild gold eyes before a thundering roar erupted from Jack's throat and he lunged at the bars. Carissa screamed as she fell back while Jack's hulking mass of muscle slammed against the bars that didn't budge. Jack's claws swiping and clawing at her as he let out another roar. Carissa clutched as her fast beating heart as she stared up terrified of Jack once again. She thought about running to the door and trying to get someone's attention to let her out; but, something inside of her told her to stay. She got up and patted herself off as Jack continued to try and reach her.
Carissa thought back to when she had a puppy that had acted like Jack did and her father taught her how to deal with the behavior. She took a deep breath and set her shoulders. "Now that is enough," she said calling over another roar. With a fierce determination she took her book and swatted Jack on the nose with it. Jack jumped and backed up twitching his nose from the blow and looked at Carissa with a confused expression. "There is no need to act that way." Confidence and authority,she thought repeating the lesson in her head. Jack ran forward again but instead of crashing into the bars and grabbing for her, he stopped and just let out another roar only inches from her face. Carissa had never been so afraid in her life, but she quickly raised the book and delivered another swat to Jack's nose. "No," she said more forcefully. Jack back pedaled again as Carissa stood there pleased that it seemed to be working. Jack wasn't a monster on the full moon. He was not tame. Jack moved back sitting in his corner on his bed almost sulking before lying down. Carissa let out a relieved sigh as she sat back on the cot. She was sure that Jack would have tried to claw her to shreds for her doing that, and had she shown any fear he probably would have. Instead, she stood her ground and he backed down. Carissa smiled as she lay down on the cot looking to the mass of muscle that watched her with golden eyes that shined in the dim light. "Goodnight Jack. Sweet dreams." She said nestling into the bedding.