I shook my head, trying to rid myself of the headache that had suddenly occurred, but to no avail. I had not had it before I went to see Bryn, so I concluded that the cause of it was our strange…encounter.
I sighed and decided I had better get used to these strange occurrences if the really was the one, and of that I had no doubt. Yet, I could not figure out what exactly had happened between the two of us. She was certain it had nothing to do with her and I was too uncertain of my own abilities to doubt that it was my doing. What worried me most of all was the bizarre connection that had occurred after our encounter. I had lied when I said I knew nothing about it; in truth I had a very good idea of what it was. And that was what frightened me most.
I decided to put it (and Bryn) entirely out of my head, at least until my blasted headache had passed. I headed toward where my men were waiting for orders. Apparently I had been with Bryn longer than I thought.
"Well, we're almost home." Those words were met with a roar of approval and I smiled, for I too was anxious to be home. "We have lost fewer of our fellows on this mission that on any other skirmish, and for that I am grateful. We got what we came for and I suppose we couldn't have asked for better."
Each and every one of them looked on at me, and for the first time n years, I actually felt like a leader. I was in fact the leader of the Rebels, but I had never actually felt like it. I was very young, I was not yet 19, and yet many men who were twice my age looked to me for guidance. The only reason I was the leader at so young an age was because firstly, I had been the one to begin the Rebel Alliance, secondly, well, it was in my past and I had promised myself long ago to forget that. The Rebel Alliance was my life now. It seemed incomprehensible. My heart swelled at the thought that these were my men and they were only loyal to me.
"We've made it this far, friends. Now I say, LET'S GO HOME!" These words were met with an even louder roar of approval. "But first, we eat." All the men laughed and as if on cue, each of them dispersed some off to hunt, some to unpack supplies, some to start the fire. I had other plans.
I followed Jeurder, my second in command and best friend, to one of the supply wagons. He was both taller than me and 5 years older than me, yet we got along quite well. Jeurder was the only one who knew me before I was with the Rebels. He hopped into the wagon and began to pick up firewood. I silently climbed into the wagon, and when I called his name he jumped a foot and dropped all the firewood in his arms. He turned around and his face instantly turned from shock to embarrassment. His face turned colour to match the violent red of his hair.
I laughed at him. "You, the mighty warrior, are scared of me? How can it be?"
"You have to stop doing that Luca, you scare the shit out of me every time," he said as he bent down to pick up the firewood he dropped. I stooped down to help him.
"I need to talk to you," I said.
"It's about Bryn."
He stopped for a moment and his vampyric eyes, ice blue and identical to mine and every other vampyre in the 12 Cities, stared at me suspiciously. Then he continued picking up the wood and said—
—"What about her?"
I sighed and rolled my eyes. "You know who she is just as much as I do, Jeurder, don't deny it."
"I don't deny it. I just don't know what you have to say about her."
"When you ...and Earolin were bonded, how did you first know it?"
It was an intimate question, one I knew I should not have been asking, but I had to know for sure. I knew that my kind mated for life. It was similar to a witches' form of finding a mate, but vampyric bonding worked somewhat differently. Every vampyre had one person they were destined to be with their entire life, their bonded one. Upon first contact, as I had been told, their souls united and a bond was formed. What happened after that, I had no clue.
He looked at me very strangely then. I'm sure he thought it odd of me to ask of his and his wife's bondage, and it was odd. But I had to know, I had to know for sure.
"We immediately connected. You know this Luca, why do you ask?"
"When you say connected, what exactly do you mean?"
He stopped picking up wood and stared at me. "I mean we bonded, her soul to mine, and mine to hers. We could speak through the connection, neither of us were able to lie to the other, our senses were tuned to one another. There are many other signs of bondage, too numerous to count. Why do you ask this now?"
There was silence in the wagon for a moment as I took in all that Jeurder had told me. I felt my heart clench and fear grip me as I realized what I had done; what had happened in the wagon with Bryn.
"I… I think I bonded with her."
I jumped down from the wagon and nearly fell. I was much weaker than I had guessed, but I managed to right myself. My wound was grievous and I knew it would need much more healing than a salve could provide.
There was a slight breeze picking up that blew my hair every which way and cooled my face. In a way it was strange to be standing in all this calmness after so many years of war. My senses gave me no warning of any danger at all and it felt so good. Yet I was confused; I had no idea where I was, where we were going, or what was to become of me once we got there. And to add to my misery, I was completely and utterly alone. I knew no one besides Luca, and even then I knew nothing about him, besides the strange connection we now had. I slumped against the side of the wagon. This is not going to be easy.
I heard voices up ahead of he and I turned my head in that direction. I decided I had better get acquainted with some of the people here; else I should become very lonely. Following the sound of the voices I came to a clearing where there were five vampyres, all of them men, sitting in a circle playing cards. At the last minute I decided I wasn't ready to get acquainted, so I discreetly tried to head back the way I had come. Unfortunately, not discreetly enough; they spotted me before I could turn back.
"Hey! The sleeping beauty awakens! Come and join us, we don't bite."
I turned and found each of them starring at me, waiting for my reply. I sincerely did not wish to be acquainted with five vampyres I knew nothing about but I did not want to be rude either.
I went to the circle and sat beside the one who had addressed me. He had dark black hair and an easy smile.
"The name's Faorin," he said, "This is Mikaeo, Jaenus, Casius, and Kaelich. Pray, what is your name, Lady?"
I smiled. He was kind and for that I was grateful. "Some call me Bryn."
"Well Bryn, have you ever played poker?"
I smiled. Perhaps this wouldn't be so bad.
"Surely you're joking. You? Bonded with a witch? Impossible."
"I tell you its true! There can be not other explanation for it."
"No, you must be mistaken, Luca. The prophecy did not mention anything about that. By the gods, she's a witch! A vampyre cannot bond with a witch, its—its just not right; it could never work. No, you certainly must be mistaken."
"Then how else do you explain the connection?" I admit I was getting frustrated. I had expected Jeurder to give me an easy explanation. I had not expected him to reject the only explanation that made any sense.
He sighed. "I don't know, Luca, I'm not the expert on this sort of thing. You know the prophecy; perhaps this is just another part of it that we didn't understand."
"Perhaps you're right…" I said. I decided it was better to let it go than to anger Jeurder by pushing it.
"Of coarse I'm right, Luca. Haven't you heard? I'm always right!"
We laughed and I shook my head. Not always, my friend, not always. We jumped out of the supply wagon with the firewood in both our arms.
"What's that?" Jeurder asked, looking past me. Just ahead we could hear a chorus of uproarious laughter.
"What are they doing? They were supposed to be getting ready." I said as I jogged up to find out exactly what the men were up to. We were met with quite a sight. A large group of the troops had gathered to watch a game of poker in which, to my surprise, Bryn was participating.
"I didn't know she played poker." Jeurder said in my ear.
"Nor did I. She must be very good to be competing against Faorin." I replied.
At that moment, Faorin jumped up and threw his cards on the ground, which made the troops crow in laughter.
"No! No you cheated! I know you cheated. I refuse to do it." Faorin cried, crossing his arms. Bryn tipped her head back and laughed, as did many of the men. Till this moment I had never seen her smile. It reminded me of her from before. Her whole face lit up and made her look absolutely…beautiful, almost childlike. A strange feeling overtook me and I shook my head, trying to clear these betraying thoughts. What was I thinking? Jeurder was right, it could never work out.
Jeurder and I approached the group to watch the ensuing disturbance and set aside the firewood.
"Alright Faorin, I pity you. We will play rock, paper, scissors, agreed?"
"Absolutely," he said, sticking out his fist.
"ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS!" they cried in unison with the crowd.
"Best two out of three?" Faorin asked pathetically as Bryn covered his rock with paper.
"I'm afraid not. I have been lenient enough. I beat your rock with my paper, thus…you lose." She said with a sly smile on her face.
The entire crowd burst into hoots of laughter and began to urge Faorin on. What were the terms of the game, anyway? I saw Faorin searching in the crowd. When his eyes found me he immediately got up, to the enjoyment of the crowd, and headed firmly in my direction. He halted in front of me. I gulped; this could not be good.
"Sir," he said, "Forgive me."
Then to my horror, he grabbed my head in his hands and kissed me on the lips! I roughly pushed him away and wiped my mouth. Many of the men had fallen to the ground clutching their sides in mirth; Bryn was bent over laughing. Now I knew the terms of the game.
"There! Are you satisfied yet, Lady? I have had to endure such horrors as many men have never seen, but this…this has been the worst."
"And...and to think I might have suffered the same fate had I been as bad at poker as you, 'tis a miracle I was spared!" Bryn said, clutching her sides.
I blushed a deep red. I was not used to being the butt of jokes. Laughing, Jeurder clapped me on the back.
"Well, I dare say she at least has a good sense of humor, which is more than I can say of you my friend."
The crowd then dispersed and went back to their original tasks. I went to sit beside Bryn.
"I see you've made friends."
She looked at me guiltily for a moment, then her beautiful smile lit up her face.
"I'm sorry, truly I am. But he had run out of things to bet with so…I gave him a task. I daresay, none of them had expected me to know how to play very well, else they would never have invited me to join them."
I looked at her and the blue of her eyes struck me. The strange feeling again settled in the pit of my stomach.
It was dark and I was getting anxious to head on, but most of the men had not yet finished eating. I sat with Jeurder, but I did not speak with him. I was too engrossed in watching Bryn and her … friends. I felt…something, not anger. I'm not sure. I certainly wished she had chosen to sit with me, yet at the same time I was glad she had not.
I turned to look at Jeurder and he nodded in Bryn's direction. "She doesn't bite you know, you can go sit with her. She's actually quite a delight…if you'd take the time to get to know her."
"I don't want to get to know her; I don't want to get attached to her. I feel…strange when I'm around her."
"You like her, admit it."
I turned to and gaped at him. "I do not like her; I haven't known her for more than a day!"
"Mmhmm, sure you don't. When are you going to tell her everything?"
"Never." I said, turning back to watch Bryn. As far as I was concerned, this conversation was over.
I heard Jeurder sigh beside me. "Then you don't deserve her." I watched him in confusion as he left. I didn't know what I felt, but…he couldn't be right.
After everyone had finished eating and we had doused the fire, I began to ready my horse. Meiremel was a beautiful horse, superior to any. She was a black mare, with a white around her hooves and a white star on her forehead. She sensed me coming and snorted in greeting.
"Hello Meiremel," I said and stroked her cheek. She started sniffing my tunic, searching for the treat she knew was there. I laughed and pulled the apple out of my tunic and gave it to her. "I never could trick you, girl." I hopped onto her back and took the reins in my hands. Before I could ride away with her, Bryn appeared.
"Hello, my lady." I said uncertainly.
Hello…she said, surprising me as she spoke through the mind link.
Can I talk to you?...she asked.
We are talking right now… I regretted it the moment I said it; it was rude. But it was too late to take it back.
We are also leaving right now…
She had a good point.
"There are horses over there, just go ask…"
"I don't know how to ride." I looked at her in shock.
"How did you ever manage to escape the royal army on foot?" I asked.
She remained silent and I had a feeling she had almost as many secrets as I had. I was not going to pressure her about them. I sighed and held out my hand. She did not take it at first, I assumed because she was unsure of what would happen if she took my hand, as I was. She gingerly slid her hand into my own. I clasped it tightly and hoisted her up behind me. She was thin, but I was still surprised at how light she was. Again, that strange feeling returned but stronger this time. I could tell you she smelled like summer flowers, honeysuckle perhaps. I could tell you I felt shaken when she wrapped her arms around my middle, I could tell you I could feel her heart beat against my back. I could tell you all this and more, yet I could not tell you what it meant. I tried to ignore those feelings that I did not understand.
I flicked the reigns and Meiremel began to trot forwards. Once I had ordered the men to advance, I headed to the front of the line. I chanced a glance behind me and saw Bryn looking quite comfortable resting on my back.
You wanted to talk?...
Why were you so intent on staring at me all night?...
I stiffened. That was not what I had expected her to say; I did not realize she had noticed me watching her. I didn't know what to say.
I …I was trying to figure you out. I could not understand how you had made friends in such a short amount of time…
Hmm… and you had to stare at me to do that?...
I had nothing to say. We were both silent for a moment, which left me time to reflect on our present situation.
Where are we going?... she asked.
We are heading to Tinwarda Keep, where all the people of the Rebels Alliance dwell…I said smiling. She had finally found a topic that did not make me squirm.
It is a place like no other. Me and the rebels stumbled upon it when we were searching for the royal army about three years ago. It is a secret place, you would not know it was there until you were right upon it, which makes it perfect for hiding. We should be there in a few hours…
Are you the leader of the Rebels?...
You are quite young for such a large role. How did you come upon that?...
I was silent for a moment, lost in thought. I need to phrase my answer carefully so as not to reveal to much to her.
I was the one to initiate the resistance and so it was only natural I was elected their leader. I…I used to be the Commander General of the royal army before this…
I felt her stiffen against my back and hoped she would not hate me.
How can it be that you were the Commander General of the royal army? You must be an amazing warrior. How did you come to hate the King then?…
I knew I had unnerved her, yet she did not remark on it. It made me wonder if she knew more than she let on.
I was sick of watching innocent people die at my feet. It was not right. So I left them and began the resistance…
How is it that we can speak throught the mind link Luca? And don't tell me you don't know because I can sense your lies.
I was speechless for a moment. I remembered then what Jeurder had said about the connection, that we could sense one anothers' lies. Just one more reason to believe the bondage was real.
That's for me to know and for you to find out...
She was silent and we continued along in that silence for quite some time until I felt her arms loosen around my waist.
She did not respond. I looked behind me and saw her fast asleep. I gently took her hands and fastened them tighter around my waist. In the distance I could see familiar land marks that told me we were very close.
Yes, i did change the preview, but only a bit. I made the preview before i made the chappy so don't hate me. Anyways, more of Luca in this chapter than of Bryn, but i assure you that she will be more involved in the next chapter. I don't have a preview for the next chapter yet but if you review and request a preview, i will send it to you. The next full chappy should be up next monday, so watch for it!
Just a thank you to EvangelineGoth, Rose Jameson (thanks for the advice and for the loyal support), Matet (also for your loyal support), and WickedMe. I could not have posted without you. Till the next chappy!