“Do you think they had trouble on the road?” Antia asked as she and Andrej waited at the front door of their home for her brothers.
“I’m sure they’re fine my love.” Andrej couldn’t help but chuckle at how excited and worried she was. He could feel it. He pulled her into him and tipped her head back, adoring the blush that tinted her cheeks. “They’re grown men and I am sure capable.”
“I’m just excited. They haven’t been here since the wedding.”
He smiled as he rubbed their noses together. “Now I’ll have to share you my sweet princess.”
“You know I can’t help myself, I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“Be patient, they’ll be here.” He pressed a kiss to her lips, reveling in the fact he could feel her every emotion. “Would you like me to entertain you until then?” He teased.
“I’d be too tired to greet them.” Her blush became a deeper shade of red. “So be good.”
He hugged her. “If they do not arrive in the next half hour, I will personally ride out to get them, okay?”
“I’d do anything for you Antia” her heart stuttered “are you trying to keep me distracted by embarrassing me?” he chuckled “Only in sweet ways my love. I mean it though. To ease your mind I will go looking for them in the next hour should they not show up” She sighed, trying to breath out the worry within her. “You’re right though. They are grown and very capable men. I’m sure they will show up” Antia managed to get her mind off of them until she realized not one but two hours had passed them by “Andrej, it’s been two hours now”
“truly?” he looked at the time, shocked. He had lost track of it talking to her. “I will put my shoes on and leave. Please stay here. The weather has been far too unpredictable lately. Before you protest, please, let me fuss over you just this once” She sighed “I suppose I should be here if they just got off the path and you guys miss eachother”
“right” He kissed her forehead “and because of our connection you’ll know if I meet any distress”
“How long will you look before returning?”
“I’ll stay out until it’s dark, just in case.”
“Then will you take one of the men with you, please?”
“Of course, my love.” He gave her another kiss then left her, wanting to find her family as quickly as possible so she wouldn’t be so worried. He called on his general, Ogoun and filled him in on what was going on as they retrieved their horses.
“Do you think they were attacked?” Ogoun asked as they headed away from the keep.
“I hope not, but her brothers should have been here by now.”
They searched the main road, Andrej hoping to spot her brothers rounding a corner. The sun was beginning to drop behind the mountains when the scent of blood hit their noses. Andrej recognized the horses laying in the middle of the road, arrows protruding from their sides. Both of the princes were missing. Andrej and Ogoun swung down from their horses and approached the dead animal. “They were ambushed.” Ogoun said.
Andrej followed the trail of boot and hoof prints that went off into the forest. “Whoever it was went this way.” He crouched down and touched some drops of blood leading away from the horse. “This scent is similar to Antia’s, one of her brothers is wounded.”
The sound of cracking branches caught both of their attention and Andrej stood, their hands going to their weapons. It was Antia’s brother Ludovic that came stumbling out of the woods, his hand gripping his stomach which was covered in blood. His sword was gripped in his other hand, also stained with blood and he looked so relieved to see his brother in law. Andrej helped him to the road and the boy’s legs gave out. “They took him, they took him.”
“Demons, they were waiting. I fought one…in the woods, but he stabbed me. Then I heard your horses. They took him, I couldn’t stop them.”
Andrej felt anger rise up within him. Antias brothers meant a lot to him and furthermore, they meant a lot to his mate who he knew would be devastated if she never saw her other brother again. “we need to get you tended to before we hunt for Percival. I know it’s not what you want to hear but my wife wont lose two brothers today” Andrej was tempted to have Ogoun take Ludovic home while he went on after the brother but the hard truth of this was her other brother might have already lost his life. It would be wiser to be absolutely sure this brother got to his home safely, besides, he’d want Ogoun at his side in a fight.
Ludovic knew he had bled too much already and agreed to go on home with Andrej for now with a heavy heart. When they arrived at the castle Antia had been waiting by the door, having already felt from Andrej something was wrong “where’s Percival?” she asked emotionally “they took him” Her brother Ludovic answered solemnly, causing tears to tumble down his sisters cheeks. A healer they kept on hand in the castle was already prepared, having been alerted by Antia something was wrong. “help him come with me Ogoun, let Andrej talk to his wife alone”
“what’re we going to do? We have to find him Andrej”
“I will fix this myself Antia…I’m so sorry they were hurt on this land. When I find out who did this I promise there will be justice”
“you aren’t expecting me to just sit here in this castle are you?”
“You don’t wish to stay here at your remaining brothers side to see to it he’s properly taken care of?”
“That’s not fair Andrej.” Her voice cracked and he hugged her as her pain and sorrow washed over him.
“I know and I am sorry, but if anything happened to you, I would die.” He pulled back, his hands framing her face. “I know you are strong, but I need you here, my love, I need to know you are safe.”
“But I’m not helpless.”
“I know, you’re my beautiful little warrior, but please stay here for me.” It wasn’t just the thought of her being harmed he worried about, but what she might witness. They had no idea what had been done to her brother.
“I just want to be there for him.”
“And you will be once I bring him back.” He brushed her tears away. “Will you please stay?”
“I will” he could feel how hard that was for her to say so he hugged her again “thank you, I love you so much Antia. I’m so sorry”
“Them being hurt isn’t your fault” It gave him some relief to hear her say that she didn’t and wouldn’t blame him. They were so happy, happier than he ever thought beings could be in a relationship and it would be devastating to have that ruined by his people. She tried to collect herself “I’m going to be here for Ludovic…just please don’t let me lose you alright”
“I’m going to do everything I can to come back intact and with Percival” They kissed, lingering in it a long time before parting “I want to check on my brother” Knowing he was about to go with no timeline on his return he lifted her up to keep Antia close while he could. ” He set her down once they were in the room with her brother so she could go to him “I’m going to be fine Antia” he said with the best smile he could manage. Ogoun looked at Andrej “are we ready to go again?” Andrej looked to his wife who sadly nodded, coming back to him one last time to hug him “the sooner we go after him the better” He said softly and Antia answered “I know”
Antia watched Andrej and Ogoun leave from the bedroom window, her heart twisting with worry. “Sister, they’ll be fine.” Ludovic said and she turned to him, trying her best to smile as she sat on the edge of the bed.
“I know, I just don’t want anyone else to get hurt.” She took his hand.
“I should have been able to protect Perci.”
“No, it’s not your fault. Demons are incredibly strong and even more so in large numbers. I just don’t understand why they would attack so close to Andrej.”
“They didn’t fight like bandits, they were so organized and they only wanted one of us. Once they had Perci, they tried leaving, but I chased them.”
She could see her brother was on the verge of tears and gently shushed him. “It’s okay, Andrej will get him back. Try and rest, okay?”
“Okay, I love you Antia.”
“I love you too.”
Antia’s pain was threatening to put Andrej in a foul mood as he and Ogoun rode out. He forced those emotions down, not wanting her to feel his anger. “What are we going to do once we find them?” Ogoun asked.
“You know. Think of this as a small war being waged on our home. These men are to be harshly punished. The only exception are any women and children who may be present, they are not to be harmed.”
Antia hadn’t realized she’d fallen asleep sitting by her brothers bed until a maid gently woke her. “sorry Antia but you should really go rest in your bed. I’ll make sure to wake you if your brother needs you or anything changes” Antia touched her pained face, it hurt slightly from crying off and on once she had realized something was wrong. When her vision cleared she looked over at her brother and the maids voice filled her ears again “he’s been peaceful. I was debating if I should wake you or not. Since the king would normally carry you to bed instead of allowing you to sleep in a random spot I decided I should. You’ll rest much better in your bed”
Antia stood and whispered “thank you, I think I’ll go soak and let go of some of this unease”
“Could I get you anything?”
“No, you should rest too.” Antia walked over to her brother, kissed his head then went to the room she shared with her husband. It was weird to be home without him, he never left her but it had been a peaceful first two years. Antia walked into the bathroom and ran a hot bath, trying to keep her emotions even so she wouldn’t make things harder on her husband.
Once it was ready she slipped in, sliding all the way under the water. She stayed under as long as she could before coming up and relaxing against the back of their tub. Antia went back and forth between being under and taking a breather until the water grew too cold. She wrapped a towel around her and smiled when she entered her room to see the same maid had made her tea and a snack “this is the opposite of resting. I’m alright”
“I have brothers myself as you know. It mangles my heart just to think of being in your shoes.”
“I’m not used to being alone like this anymore. Would you atleast enjoy it with me?” The maid smiled “Of course Antia” Soon they were both in the bed, talking, drinking tea and eating together. Almost randomly Antia said softly “do you think this means the people are unhappy with me as queen?”
“If it is it;s a small ridiculous group. This marriage brought peace and Andrej is a better king for having you. It could also be other things Antia. Regardless, this was a marriage by arrangement an incredibly short time. He fell in love with you practically right when you arrived here. Whomever the demons are that did this are incredibly stupid or have forgotten what a ferocious line of demons your husband comes from. He’s kind but hurting you is about the dumbest thing anybody could do in this kingdom”
“my brother thinks they were specifically after Percival”
“see, its not you then. They’d just want to hurt both of them if this was done to send a message you weren’t welcome here. Maybe its an idiot who wants money and thinks Andrej would pay a ransom”
“he wouldn’t pay to get my brother back?” A little concern filled Antia again. “He’ll bring your brother back. Just not that way. Like I said, we’ve all seen how much you mean to our king. They will be getting nothing but misery from him for making you so upset”
“I think he’ll be able to keep himself in check about this. He feels so even right now” The maid laughed “Antia he’s a demon and a skilled one. If you’re feeling evenness from him he’s just controlling how you perceive his emotions. I understand how elf marriage works but he’s a skilled demon. I know he doesn’t want to worry you more” She had never thought about that. “I hope he’s okay” Antia said softly “He’ll be fine and your brothers will be fine. You should get more rest”
“thank you for sitting with me like this”
“I can come in here every night if you’d like me to Antia”
“You’re so sweet, thank you”
Andrej and Ogoun did not stop to rest, knowing they didn’t need it and wouldn’t for a few days. They had been raised to be weapons and weapons had no need for sleep. They followed the scent of not only their prey, but that of Percival. Their night vision helped them see where the demons had gone. “It’s surprising they left any trail at all.” Ogoun said, breaking the silence.
“They must have been in a hurry, more than likely worried someone would spot them and alert me to what had happened. They probably didn’t think Ludovic would live.”
“Our Queen does not deserve this.”
“No, she doesn’t.”
“And they only wanted young Percival.”
That was also a concern. They had tried to kill Ludovic which meant it couldn’t be political or to force him to pay a ransom. If it had been, they would have taken both brothers. “They must have wanted him for something.” He could feel that Antia was trying to hid her worry, but it still filled him, angering him and he was determined to bring Percival, no matter what.
Antia woke with a whimper on her lips at the nightmare she had been having. Horrible images of Percival hurt and bleeding, of losing both of her brothers and Andrej had plagued her. She grabbed Andrej’s pillow and hugged it, pressing her face into it as she cried. She forced herself to breathe, not wanting to worry Andrej. When she was finally able to calm herself, she got out of bed, wanting to check on Ludovic and make sure he was okay. She went as quietly as she could to his room and pushed his door open enough to look inside. He was sleeping and in the silence of her home, she could hear his soft breathing. She left him and headed downstairs, knowing she wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep right now.
Antia wasn’t sure what she was going to do but she knew she had to do something besides stress, worry or cry. She decided to walk around and see what the staff was up to. She found one of the men that worked for them with his head up a chimney, fussing at someone “you better get out of there right now”
“whats wrong?” she asked, startling him. He pulled his head out “I’m so sorry mam. It seems my son has climbed up there. I’ll get him out soon” She went over kneeling down so she could get under and look up “thats very dangerous young man. You’re a demon but you can still get hurt honey” He blushed “I’m sorry, just move and I’ll come down” she pulled herself out and he came down, running to his father, hiding slightly behind him “I’m so sorry for his horseplay your majesty. I appreciate the ability to bring him with me and wont allow this to happen again”
“He’s just little, eight right?”
“I like you all just to call me Antia”
“Thank you for understanding Antia.”
“He didn’t even hurt anything. Maybe I could play with him today while you’re working. I need to keep my mind off things” His expression went to surprise “are you sure mrs?”
“If he would be comfortable with me” The boy stepped away from his father and the dad gave him a look she guessed was daring him to misbehave for her.
“His name’s Agenor.”
“That’s a really neat name.” She held out her hand. “Would you like to sit on the throne?” She asked, her voice a whisper and she saw the boy’s eyes light up. She held out her hand. “Come on, I don’t think Andrej would mind.” He looked to his father who nodded then turned back and took her hand.
“Thank you, ma’am…Antia.” His father said.
Andrej held up his hand and he pulled his horse to a stop and Ogoun halted, sitting completely still. Andrej pointed ahead and tapped his ear and Ogoun nodded. They dismounted and left the horses to move silently through the forest. It was the sound of voices that had caught Andrej’s attention, a group of men, all demons as far as he could smell. He and Ogoun slowed as they drew closer and stayed hidden when they finally spotted them. Neither of them saw Percival, but his scent was around. He had been here. There were five men in all and Andrej wanted one of them alive to answer questions. He gestured to Ogoun and made sure he understood that one must stay alive. He nodded and then they burst forth from the woods, surprising the men.
The kidnappers barely had time to react, two of them falling as the others struggled to pull their weapons free. Andrej and Ogoun were merciless in their attack and Ogoun jumped on the back of the last man, bearing him down and pinning him. “Now don’t move or I may kill you before my King has had the chance to speak.” The man went still and Andrej crouched down.
“If you answer me quickly, then I will show you mercy, but if you mess with me, then I will let Ogoun play with your insides while you watch. Where is the elf you took? Do not deny you did so, your scent was there. Where is he?”
The demon swallowed. “He…we gave him to the Earl’s men.”
“Earl? Which one?”
Andrej nodded. “Was it political?”
“No, he said…he said he needed an elf. Pure and beautiful. He had heard they were coming so he paid us…”
“To attack my wife’s brothers? Did you think that was smart?”
“what he was paying us…we thought it would be worth it. He told us you wouldn’t care. Your father wouldn’t have cared enough about his mate to come after us. Even if he would have sent someone…he wouldn’t have come himself. I guess he underestimated how different you are”
“Her happiness here, with me, in general is everything. The longer I feel how heartbroken she is the angrier I get. I want to let Ogoun play with your insides anyway but I’m a king of my word. You will not even die, by our hand at least. You will be locked up. It’ll do me a service to have you telling people why I’m so angry. Hopefully nobody will be this dumb again. Now tell me, how long has he had Percival”
“A few hours”
“do you know if he was taking him home or to a certain location?”
“I don’t I swear, please, don’t let him hurt me”
“You lead others to pain then beg for yourself…disgusting” Ogoun began tieing the demon up painfully tight then sat him on the horse, hoping on behind him “where to my king?”
“we are closer to Getaes home than to the prison. We’ll bring the bastard with us. Who knows what he has planned. Not knowing makes every second count. I will be bringing her brother home” Andrej said with resolve. They weren’t riding for long when Ogoun asked “How is she?” Andrej sighed “she’s found something to help her pain, Maybe she’s talking with Ludovic.”
“I’m glad to hear it”
“You’ve always been a hard man to read Ogoun. I’m glad to learn my wife is important to you”
“I’d protect her with my life, as I would you. She’s a good woman”
“You admire her.”
Ogoun’s admiration sounded as if it bordered on love, but Andrej could not bring himself to feel jealous of his friend. He knew he would never cross that line and trusted him implicitly. After all, who wouldn’t love his beautiful Antia. Thinking of her brought up his own feelings of love and adoration and he allowed them to slip out, wanting her to feel how much he needed her. They went as fast as they could through the woods, only slowing when they met think underbrush, unwilling to harm the horses. They ignored the groans of their captive, uncaring that he was uncomfortable. They could do worse to him than leave him bruised.
“Are you and the king going to have any kids?” Agenor asked as he walked next to Antia. She had let him wear Andrej’s crown and he looked adorable with it on, especially since it was big on him.
“I don’t know, maybe.”
“My dad always says how happy he was to have me.”
“Do you have any brothers or sisters?”
He shook his head. “No, ma’am.”
“Would you like to meet one of my brothers? He’s a little hurt, but I bet he wouldn’t mind a visit.”
Antia was happy to see her brother awake “Hey Antia, who is this little one?”
“I’m Agenor, my dad works here” Ludovic smiled “you look good in the crown”
“she let me sit on the throne too!”
“how’re you this morning brother?” Antia asked and he said “better, someone is fetching me breakfast now so I can take a few things”
“Andrej isn’t back yet but he’s still okay”
“they will all be fine. Thats the only thing we can allow ourselves to think right now” Ludovic looked back at the young boy “I have some fun stories about the queen, my brother and I that I’d love to share if you’re interested. We’ve always been an adventurous group”
“okay” he said excitedly and sat down in the nearby chair. Antia took a spot on the bed her brother occupied and listened, finding comfort in her childhood days being retold by her brother. Occasionally she’d glance over at Agenor. She was coming to realize she did want a child. She knew her husband needed an heir anyway so she’d bring it up if all this turned out okay. If it didn’t, if she lost her brother she didn’t know if she’d be emotionally fit for awhile to carry and raise a child.
It was midday as when they came to the top of the rise that looked down over Getae’s home and Andrej leaned over, grabbing a handful of their captive’s hair and pulled it up. “How many came for the prince?”
“Four, all men.”
“Do you know if he has more? Are there women in the house?”
“I don’t know.”
He let him go and he and Ogoun climbed off their horses. “Make sure he’s tied up on your horse, we’ll go on foot from here, I don’t want them to hear us.”
“Yes, sir.” Ogoun lashed the demon to the horse then patted the man’s cheek. “Be good now, if I have to chase you down, I’ll break your legs.”
They left him there, knowing the horses wouldn’t move until called. They headed down, moving quickly, but quietly, both of them alert for any traps Getae may have set. Chances are, like their captive, he hadn’t thought someone would come for Pervical. “Ogoun, I want you to go around back. If you find Percival before I do, get him out of there and wait for me back up there.”
“And if I find Getae?”
“Bring him to me.”
Antia felt her husbands anticipation. That and his anger flowed through her now that they were so close. “are you okay sister?”Ludovic asked, interrupting the story he was telling. “I think they found something. I don’t know, i just felt a rush of many things. I think he was controlling how much I felt until now”
“Good, that must mean they have found Percival or are finally dealing with those responsible”
“Yeah…finish your story. I know the end but Agenor here doesn’t” Ludovic looked at her with concern a few moments before continuing the story. Not only was the child curious but he also hoped if he continued it would help ease his sister again. Andrej hadn’t had a need to fight in years but it came to him with ease when he entered the home and was instantly met with displeased beings. It was almost as if Getae was throwing some sort of party and only the depraved were invited.
Being a monster was easy and he gave the creatures before him a reason to fear them before they died. He moved quickly through them, not allowing any of them to leave this house. The only exceptions were the apparent slaves of the people who had congregated here. Blood splattered the floor and walls of the room and he moved on. He could hear screams coming from the back of the house and knew it was Ogoun. Andrej locked onto Percival’s scent, killing any who dared try to stop him.
He found both the prince and Getae in the dining hall where Getae had set up his own little throne. Percival was on his knees facing the door, a metal collar around his neck, his arms bound behind him. He half naked, only being allowed to keep his pants. In Getae’s hand was a chain connecting him and the prince so the young man couldn’t get away. Andrej let his eyes briefly move over the other inhabitants of the room. More of Getae’s guests with half naked slaves.
“King Andrej, what a surprise.” Getae said and Andrej’s eyes moved back to him.
“What do you think you are doing with my brother in law?” He said, his tone ice cold.
“Just having a little fun.” He reached out, letting his hand rest on Percival’s shoulder.
“Don’t touch me.” Percival snapped and Getae grabbed a handful of his hair. “Kill him, Andrej, just kill him.”
“Come closer and I’ll rip his throat out.” Getae warned.
Andrej let his eyes move to Percival. “Do you trust me?”
Getae was spoiled and lazy, hadn’t done much of anything in his life so Andrej lunged with absolute confidence he could snatch Percival away before Getae could snap his neck. The confidence paid off though Percival was now missing most of the gorgeous, long hair he once had. Andrej hoped the fact he was safe now would make up for it. Getae only had time enough to realize and growl before Andrej was on top of him, ready to crush his windpipe. “I want so badly to kill you”
“I’m an earl, do you know the unrest you’ll cause”
“I have the prince and one of his kidnapper to tell everyone why”
“Think Andrej, think before you ruin the peace within your own kingdom”
“I’ll leave it up to you Percival. Should he die right now or stand trial back at the castle?”
“He should stand trial Andrej but thank you…thank you so much” Andrej released his own loud, frustrated growl before breaking both of Getaes arms “what the fuck” he snarled “You need medical attention now so you wont think of trying anything”
He pulled Getae up so their faces were close. “Or I really will kill you and turn any who dare stand in your defense to nothing but ash and dust. I do not fear war and those who would oppose a pig like you dying, do not deserve to breathe.” He slammed him into the floor. “Now, be a good sport and release them.”
“Fine.” Getae snarled. “The key to their shackles is in my room.” His eyes moved to Percival. “The little elf knows, don’t you boy?”
Andrej looked at Percival. “Did he?”
“No, he tried, but I wouldn’t let him. He touched me, but that was it. It’s why he was parading me around like a dog, to try and punish me.”
Andrej looked back at Getae. “Consider yourself fortunate.” He stood, dragging Getae by his shirt. “Those who are still alive will release their slaves and walk out of here without complaint or you will be executed. If I even hear the whisper of you collecting more, I will personally come for you.”
There was some murmuring, but he could tell they were scared of him, especially after hearing what he had done in other parts of the house. Ogoun came in covered in blood and Getae’s guests decided it was better to comply. “Prince Percival, glad to see you’re okay.” Ogoun said.
“Ogoun, would you mind holding this insect while I and the prince run upstairs to find his key. I want to get Percival and Getae’s other captives free of their collars.”
“Of course, perhaps he and I will have a little chat.”
“Don’t kill him, he’s to stand trial.”
“Of course sir.”
Antia was listening for the doors to their castle to open even as she read to her brother and Agenor, whom she had taken off Redvers hands again. It really did help the time pass and she guessed it was easier for his father to get things done without him following Redvers around. Her heart leapt in her chest when she heard them “is everything alright?” Ludovic asked, having been only concentrating on his sisters reading. “I think they are home.” she marked where she was “I’ll go check” she said excitedly then spoke to Agenor “I need you to stay in this room with my brother. If they or Percival is hurt I don’t want you seeing the goriness of it all”
“yes ma’am, I can take over reading”
“I’m sure Ludovic would love that”
“Yes, thank you. I cant wait to be released from this bed” he eyes his sister, she the only thing keeping him in it at this point. Antia ran to the doors, her eyes growing damp when she saw her brother “Perci” He choked up a little aswell as he opened his arms for her to hug him “they found you” she hadn’t even noticed the earl yet. “are you hurt?” she began looking him over “I’m alright, they didnt want me damaged” she looked concerned and he said “Nothing at all ended up happening to me. I promise, I’m okay”
She felt her husbands need for her to hug him aswell so she pulled herself away from her brother. He held her tightly, taking in the sweet scent he had missed. “are you okay?” she asked Andrej. “Now that I’m with you but we need to take care of Getae and his minion before I enjoy being back. It was Getae that had your brother taken”
She looked at the earl who ducked his head, seeming terrified of her husband and Ogoung. She was silent until Andrej said “why dont you get Perciaval comfortable. We can handle this” She nodded, taking her brother hand. Perci allowed her to pull him off and when they were out of earshot she asked “what happened to your hair?”
“Casualty of your husband getting me back. It’s alright, believe me. I’d rather have lost some hair than that horrible demon break my neck like he threatened”
“you can shower and then I’ll even it up. I’ll keep it as long as I can”
“I’m not worried sister”
“You’ve just always kept it long”
“it will grow, a shower does sound much needed though”
“You can borrow my husbands clothing”
Andrej shoved Getae into a cell and pulled him over to the wall where he lifted a shackled and clamped it around his neck. “If you cause any trouble, I’ll kill you before you get a chance to stand trial.” He left him there, making sure the cell door was securely locked. To the guard watching the area he said, “If either of them, especially Getae, cause any trouble come and get me.”
He and Ogoun headed back upstairs and he paused for a moment to collect himself. “I know how you feel about letting him live.” Ogoun said. “I feel the same.”
“Percival was the one taken, I wanted to give him the choice.”
“You know anyone with a heart and brain will see he is guilty and ask he be punished. Plus, no one would dare oppose you, they know what will happen if they do.”
“I know.” He sighed. “I need to find Antia, thank you for helping me my friend.”
Once Percival was clean, Antia trimmed his hair, wishing she didn’t have to cut it so short to get it looking nice again. She let him look in the mirror once she was finished and he ran his finger through it. “Looks good.” He said. “I can see my ears.”
“Yeah, they’re a lot pointier than I remember them being.” She teased and he turned and hugged her.
“I love you sister.”
“I love you too. Do you want to see Ludovic?”
“Yeah, he needs to know I’m okay.”
When they entered Ludovic’s room she smiled at her husband who was obviously there waiting on her. She walked into his arms and he held her again. “where is Agenor? He was still in here when I left” she asked Andrej who answered “he’s back with his father. You’ve been spending a lot of time with him?”
“It helped to keep me from worrying. He’s a sweetie” Andrej straightened and both brothers looked amused “why don’t you two spend some time together sister, we’re fine”
“are you guys sure?”
“Your husband looked so anxious to see you.” Ludovic said then Percival added “we’re grown men and safe now. We’ll spend time together tomorrow. He doesn’t look like he rested at all while he hunted for me” Antia looked at Andrej and could tell her brother was right but she couldn’t bring herself to fuss at him for not taking care of himself. She was so grateful to have both her brother here, safe in the castle. The couple went back to their room where she insisted they laid down “that was the idea anyway” he said as they cuddled up to eachother in bed “I always know how much you love me Andrej but… this means so much to me”
“this was supposed to be happy. You were supposed to get to see your brothers again and then my people fucked it up.”
“you fixed it, thats all that matters to me. Well that and you resting”
“I’m a demon”
“I dont care right now” he pulled her tighter against him “I’ll rest as long as you stay right here”
He pulled her as close as he could, burying his nose in her hair. He closed his eyes, allowing her scent to lull him to sleep and she relaxed into him, soaking up his warmth and love. As he slept, she let her mind drift to thoughts of children, wondering if he wanted any. He was a good man, but she knew how he had been raised. His father hadn’t been kind. She sighed, deciding she should sleep too, if only to keep her worries from waking her husband. Andrej woke a few hours later, happy to find Antia still there. He pressed a kiss to her forehead then her nose and finally her lips which woke her.
“Andrej, is everything alright?” She asked sleepily.
“I just woke up.” He rubbed their noses together. “Let’s hope I never have to leave you again.”
“It had to be done.”
“That doesn’t mean I have to like it.”
She let out a soft laugh. “It’s still so surprising how sweet you are. Sometimes I want to tell the whole world how kind and gentle you are.”
“You better not, they might stop being scared, then what would I do?” He teased.
“Kill people with kindness?”
He chuckled. “If only the world were so perfect.” Antia felt a bit nervous as she became fully awake. Should she ask him now or wait? “What are you thinking my love? You’re heart is beating so fast and I can feel you’re worried.” He smiled warmly at her. “You’re always so confident my sweet, tell me, don’t be scared.”
“I’m not scared, not really, just nervous.”
“Well, while you were gone, as you know I spent a lot of time with Agenor and he’s so sweet. I let him wear your crown, he was just so cute, but it got me thinking about maybe having a baby.” He started to open his mouth, but she kept talking, her words coming out faster now. “I know your dad was awful, but we could have one right? You might need an heir and…”
Andrej kissed her, silencing her and causing her face to flush. He pulled back, his eyes looking into hers as he spoke. “First, my love, you should never worry about giving me an heir. That was never important. I only want your happiness, so please never think of me needing something so trivial as an heir.” He took her face in his hands and smiled at her. “Now that we got that out of the way, I would love to have a baby, I’ll fill the castle with them if you wish.”
“I’ve always seen myself with four kids…that’s really okay? You’d enjoy them?”
“They’d be more pieces of you, of course I would. We’ll have all the children you want. In fact, if we could start now I’d be even more excited” She could not only see the lust begin to burn in his eyes but she could feel it begin to flow within him. She began to kiss him and soon they were all over one another, making love until she was sure her brothers must be wondering what was taking them to get out of bed. She stumbled a bit getting up which had Andrej chuckling “should we soak before we join your brothers?”
“I’ll be fine” she took a meaningful pause as she looked back at her blissful husband. “thank you Andrej , for more than just saving my brothers, for everything. I really do love my life”
“I could thank you for so much as well Antia. You’re a far more amazing wife than I deserve and you being an elf just makes it all the better. I can sense stuff as a demon but being married in your way, I love truly feeling what you feel”
“I’m going to jump back in that bed and have you if you keep being so sweet.”
“Oh no” he could barely even fake being upset by that. Antia laughed cheerfully “I’ve really missed my brothers” He chuckled as well as he got out of bed to dress “then we shall go to them. We’ll work on this whole kid thing more later”
~ The End