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Armored - Chapter Three (The Walk)

Old Vault Category: 
Old Vault ID: 


She walked ahead of us, Grobnar dancing around her and playing the most nonsensical song I'd ever heard. We were all staggered along the road in some sort of formation, making slow but steady progress, and for the moment, the only thing surrounding us was the warm air and the smell of the trees, our weary feet crunching the fall leaves that scattered the path. The gnome's search for the Wendersnaven had ended in vain (which didn't surprise me in the slightest), but the complete unimportance of our quest sat easily on my heart. There was no urgency, no dread, no fear; a slight skirmish with a few orcs, but most of the trip had been uneventful, and it had left all of our spirits lighter than they had been in weeks.

She was laughing, now, as Grobnar cavorted around her in a small circle, clapping her hands every now and again in time with his music. My eyes were drawn to her time and again, watching as the breeze played with her long ponytail of hair, following the curve of her hips down to her calves as she walked. The strange, growing warmth that spread through me when she was in my sight was one I recognized; I was no innocent fool to such feelings. But she was so unlike the women of the court that had hounded me in my youth...they had been polished, manicured, graceful, their long gowns and painted smiles near perfect in flawless symmetry. I had learned to courteously endure the flirtatious teasing, the coy smiles, the suggestive undertones to otherwise perfectly innocent conversation; "Such are the ways of noble women," my mentor had told me. "And the ways of most women, come to think of that."

There had been exceptions, of course; there were the women that had fought, had bled, and had died alongside their men at Old Owl Well to protect their homes. There was nothing flirtatious about the way they had called me "Sir," or the way they had lost their lives under my command. And Katriona had more than proven herself as an able-sergeant and a quick-thinking soldier. I had respected her strength and devotion, honored her friendship.

But you didn't stare at her legs while she walked in front of you.

I blinked, and looked at something else, musing uneasily to myself. Yes, and then there is her. The young, half-elven monk was quick-witted, loud, spirited; she could knock most men's heads off their shoulders with a well-aimed kick. Where the women of the court were painted and perfect, her face was covered in faint scars, her dark eyes large and honest, completely without deception. She laughed, often and unrestrainedly. She was kind, and tender; I let my breath out in a slow exhale as I remembered the gentle touch of her fingers on my skin so few nights ago. The easy friendship that we had enjoyed before that night was now colored at the edges with a glowing red heat, and I felt it every time she walked near me. We kept careful distance from each other around the others, but I would catch myself watching her lips as she would speak; and every now and again, I would feel her eyes on me, following my movements when she thought I didn't notice.

As if reading my thoughts, she glanced back, catching my eye momentarily; color flushed through her cheeks and she smiled, before turning back to the road and Grobnar's antics. I felt my mouth twitch upwards in response...just as I caught sight of Bishop's face. He glanced at me coldly, his eyes narrowed; with a near imperceptible curl of his lip, he turned, and walked swiftly up to where Ceadra led the formation, casually falling into step beside her. I saw her pace catch a moment, her face surprised...but then she was laughing at something he said, and they were talking quietly as they continued to walk along.

My hand clenched into a fist, red mist coloring the edges of my vision. Ah, jealousy reared it's ugly head, I have to admit; but I grit my teeth, smothering my anger with the observation that, while Bishop's smile was snide, suggestive, and that he walked closer to her than I would have liked, her expression was mildly polite, and she made no move to reciprocate his body language.


Wouldn't hurt to mention something to her later, perhaps...

o o o o o o


Kana finally left, and I sank back into the enormous, elaborate throne that had been placed on the dias in the middle of the room. It was a hideous piece of furniture and I almost never used it, except for those times when Kana would go on, and on, and on, until my bones creaked whenever I shifted my weight and I had to succumb to the force of gravity. I had a hand over my eyes, and almost didn't hear the creak of metal armor until he was directly in front of me.

I jumped, my eyes flying open as his shadow fell over me. Looking up, I felt my smile grow of it's own accord; the glow from the torches skittered across his face momentarily, light and shadow warring across his chiseled features, and the corner of his mouth twitched upwards in response as he looked down at me. My voice, when it came, sounded downright shy. "Hello."

"May I speak with you a moment, my lady?" Ah, the ever formal 'my lady' was back...the moment when he had spoken my name so many nights ago had knocked the walls down around my brain, leaving images in my head of his hands trailing over my body, his lips on mine, my fingers sinking into his thick, black hair. Ceadra. It had chilled me to the bone and set a fire in my blood, all at the same time.

And now, we were back to 'my lady.' Sometimes, I just wanted to kick him...

Sighing inwardly, I nodded at him, pushing myself up onto my feet. "Do you mind if we walk while we talk? I've been in this room all afternoon, and it's been driving me mad." I stretched, wincing as I heard random joints throughout my body pop! in protest.

"I don't mind at all." And he offered his elbow to me, patiently waiting. My mouth curled up again in an involuntary smile as I slipped my arm through his. And they say chivalry is dead. This reminds me of those fairy tales Rhetta used to tell me.

In all fairness, to make this a fairy tale, you should be wearing an elaborate gown or somesuch, instead of trews. And the world should not be about to end. But if it was, he should be the one about to save it, not you.

Stop grinning like an idiot and listen to what he's saying!

I snapped into focus. "...concerned," he was saying, leading me along the walls outside. The breeze felt good, albeit a little cold, and I tightened my grip on his arm, sidling a little closer as the chill cut through my thin robes. He glanced at me, but continued. "I do not like the way he...looks at you, and I do not trust his intentions."

It took me a moment for my brain to catch up, and when it did, I stopped, looking up at him incredulously. "What, Bishop? Why are you concerned about him?"

He seemed a little taken aback, and fumbled to recollect himself. "'s none of my affair who you choose to speak with, after all, but I merely felt that I should...warn you."

I arched a brow at him, but my voice was amused. "And why would you feel that?"

He shook his head, trying to brush it off, to pull me onward and continue our walk together. "Forgive me for speaking of it. It isn't important."


Ah, this use of first names was a powerful thing, with him. Or maybe it was the tenderness in my voice that I hadn't really meant to have there, and yet it came out anyway. When he looked back down at me again, his gaze was no longer cool and informally concerned...sapphire flames licked in his eyes, and the raw longing in them was so stark, so unshielded, that I nearly stepped back from him for fear of being burned.

"My lady," he said, his voice near a whisper, "you make light of me."

"I do not," I said, quietly. "What reason would I have to? Bishop is nothing you should worry about."

"Truly?" His voice was cold, but his eyes...gods, I could feel the fire catching inside of me, raging along my veins, sending my heartbeat hammering against my ribs. "Regardless, I shall ensure that nothing distracts you from your mission. I know my duty, my lady."

I couldn't stand it anymore. "To the hells with your duty," I said, my voice hoarse, and gripped the collar of his breastplate, lifting myself onto my toes; in one smooth, satisfying movement, I pressed my lips against his mouth, which opened in surprise under the hungry probing of my tongue.

In half a heartbeat, the tables turned; suddenly, he practically growled against my lips, and his arms encircled my waist, lifting me off my feet. In two steps, I was pushed somewhat roughly against the wall of the keep, his kiss descending on me fiercely, arms encircling my waist so tightly that I was near crushed against the plate armor he wore. My head was reeling against such a passionate onslaught, and I sucked my breath in sharply as one of his hands trailed up my spine to the back of my head, tilting it back so that his lips would find purchase against the soft skin of my neck...

"Ceadra," he whispered raggedly as his lips found the edge of my slightly pointed ear. Oh no, please not there... "My I've wanted..."

I didn't get to hear whatever he wanted, because we both froze as the sound of rapidly approaching, heavily metalled footsteps broke into the near silence of the night. He pulled away from me, and there must have been sheer murder in my eyes, because when the guard turned the corner and caught sight of us, he flinched back as I stepped forward.

"What do you want?" I practically snarled.

"Captain, they've taken Highcliff! Lieutenant Kana needs you down in the War room, immediately!"

I was seething, but some level of clear-headedness was returning to me. Go to the hells, you bloodsucking little interloper, I'm busy! I wanted to scream at him. My mouth, the traitor, said, "Fine! I'll be down shortly."

The guard ran for his life.

"Damn it!" I kicked the wall, and then realized that my foot vs. solid granite was an unfair match-up. "Ouch!"

Casavir began laughing. He continued on, for near a solid minute, as I nursed my aching foot and glared at him narrowly. He does have a wonderful laugh, I thought to myself.

You're not exactly an unbiased observer.

"My lady," he said when he finally caught his breath, and my eyes, once more. He came to me, the back of his hand trailing up my cheek. "Ceadra," he said softly. I waited for a heart-stopping moment, and then, instead of speaking, his lips lightly brushed against mine, and I felt all the little hairs on my body stand on end in response. He pulled back, and brushed my hair away from my face, before dropping his hand. "Come, Captain. We have somewhere to be." He practically grinned at me, and then held out his elbow, all courtly formality once more.

I took it, walking as if in a daze, allowing him to lead me down to the belly of the Keep. When this war is over, I'm firing all the guards.

Armored Ch. 3 - The walk © Avariel

Migrate Wizard: 
First Release: 
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