Azriel & Vrai

Chapter One

Most might think it was the frigid cold that would make this trek hard but it was mostly the unforgiving winds this high on the mountain. It stung any bit of exposed skin and made walking it even more tiring than it should be since they had to push against them it was so bad up here. What made it worse was knowing they weren’t even halfway to the point the reports said the three headed trolls were living. Their king and Queen had been informed a large group of giant, three headed trolls had taken over this mountain, refusing anybody entry after they destroyed the homes of the people who were daring enough to live in a place like this. They had already found the reports were true of a bloody take over on these mountains. Dead bodies laid in the snow, covering surrounding areas in crimson.

Young and old so some of the people in their group had to try not to look at the mangled children. This was a terrible scene regardless but the children made it all the worse. The giant three headed trolls were powerful and tall enough that if three of them stood on top of one another they’d be as tall as the highest tower in the castle but they normally didn’t use their size and strength like this. Azriel was eager to know the meaning of this, to talk to them first before fighting. He hoped something had happened and their hearts didn’t just become this cruel and selfish.

These people had built their lives here. They didn’t deserve to be kicked out or murdered. The trolls had no right no matter what they told him but still, he hoped this was something that could be reasoned out, that they might turn themselves over to the king and queen. Azriel hoped he could trust the men and women that followed him to let him speak to them before any fighting started. These were amazing warriors who normally weren’t fast to bloodshed either but this scene was turning out to be so grotesque he just wasn’t sure if the normal would apply. He could feel their anger and disgust welling up more within them with every step they took.

Azriel was tall, muscular and married to the man walking at his side. An amazing man who made him happier every day since they came together. Vrai was the newest member of this elite group that took care of the more life threatening jobs for the king and queen but the others listened to him just as they did Azriel since they were married. The woman to his right was Euphemia. She was about five foot seven with the intense blue eyes she could control almost anybody with. All she had to do was get you to look into them and you were putty on her hands. That was her best gift and one Azriel was proud she never abused. He realized how easy it would be to slip and use it for your own personal gain. As far as he had known her she only ever used it when they had no other choice.

Just behind strode Phelan, he was having a much easier time because he was immune to the cold. He could be walking this mountain naked right now and not shiver even once. It was amazing and a skill that didn’t seem very useful until this mission. The two women walking closer to him were Temperance and Clio, twin demon women who were incredibly impressive fighters. They had their fair share of abilities but to watch them fight was sometimes like watching art in action. They preferred not to use their gifts because they never wanted to depend on them. There were creatures who could strip you of power and if they ever met one they wanted to be able to wipe the smug look off it’s face.

The other three men holding the back of the group were Bryant, Harlem & Yoki. While they also had a multitude of strengths it seems they shared one that was vital to the group. Fear never gripped them. They could go up against anything, put themselves in any situation and fear didn’t so much as faintly visit their minds. They had impressed Azriel time and time again over the years. They had all, aside from Azriels husband Vrai been working together nearly three hundred years. In this world everyone was immortal so old age wasn’t a thing they worried about.

“Do you think we’ll be able to talk any sense into them?” Phelan asked. “The survivors didn’t believe it was a viable option.”

“I’m really hoping we can. You know trolls, they tend to keep to themselves for the most part, maybe they steal a cow or a few sheep here and there, but this sort of thing is uncharacteristic.” Azriel replied, trying to keep his teeth from chattering.

“He’s right, most of the time you can get them to offer some sort of compensation for damages done. They tend to be more stubborn than most, but after a bit of haggling you can get something they’ve made as payment.” Vrai added.

“What if this was planned?” Clio asked.

“Then we do what we have to do to stop them. We can’t risk more lives being taken.” Azriel said.

They kept trudging through the snow until Azriel saw a little cottage still mostly intact. It wouldn’t be much relief but it would protect them from the winds for a short time. He knew everybody aside from Phelan needed it if they were going to be any good with the trolls later “we’re going to rest in that cottage, maybe make a fire if we can to warm our bodies. Phelan, I know it’s been mostly pointless so far but after you’ve rested a little bit I’d like you to search the area for any survivors. If there’s anybody still clinging to life we need to help them.”

“I’d rather just go ahead and search. If someone is alive near here I don’t want them suffering in the snow any longer than they have to”

“alright then, just be mindful of yourself.”

“this mountain wouldn’t be anything if it wasn’t so cold so I’m really fine since that has no affect on me” Azriel nodded so Phelan walked off to search the area while everyone else got warm. The families fire place was still intact so they got a fire roaring and huddled around, Azriel holding Vrai tightly against him. Vrai just relaxed into it, for warmth and just for the sake of being close to his husband.

“The people who live here are incredible.” Euphemia said as she rubbed her hands together. “What I wouldn’t give for Phelan’s gift right now.”

“What we wouldn’t all give. Just the way he walks through the snow like it’s a minor inconvenience. Show off.” Bryant said and everyone laughed.

The wind started picking up about an hour later and Phelan soon returned, looking slightly annoyed as he dropped down next to his companions. “Anything?” Azriel asked.

“No and there’s so much snow being kicked around now I couldn’t see.”

“You can go back out when the wind calms down, for now rest your body.” He then pressed a kiss to Vrai’s forehead. “Rest okay?”

“You too, you can’t be tired if we get into a fight.”

He smiled. “You know me, I have enough energy to fill three of me.”

“I think the world would be in trouble if there were three of you, boss.” Harlem teased.

“We’d have to hide Vrai.” Temperance added.

“That’s way too much information.” Yoki said.

A couple of them laughed while Azriel held Vrai a little tighter saying “there would be no hiding him from me” They all wound up sleeping due to how long it was taking for the winds to soften. The three headed trolls were probably all that was left on the mountain that would be aggressive and they would feel them coming. Being such massive creatures sneaking wasn’t something they were capable of. When Phelan woke to use the bathroom he noticed the winds weren’t nearly as bad but it was pitch dark outside. He knew it would be better to wait for the suns aide again. He did however stay up so he could walk out at first light. He hated to think of anybody wounded being stuck in the snow.

First light came and he woke Azriel “I’m going to seach”

“okay, I’ll get everyone else up so we can get prepared to leave” Azriel kissed Vrai awake, causing him to blush “I love you so much” Azriel said as he let his hand travel Vrais side “please don’t have sex with him right here” Bryants sleepy voice asked, causing Azriel and Vrai to chuckle. Vrai was starting to get over the embarrassment of how affectionate Azriel was in front of everyone else. It didn’t matter where they were he always seemed to need to kiss and feel him. Luckily for them, while they did tease, none of the others they worked with seemed to have a real problem. Vrai wasn’t sure Azriel would stop even if someone did though.

By the time Phelan returned empty handed again everyone was up and eating some of the food they had brought. They waited for Phelan to have his ration then they all set out again. Once again to be confronted with the sad scene this place was now. If these trolls could be reasoned with Azriel planned to recommend to the king and queen to force the trolls to help clean this up and bury the dead. They needed to take a long hard look at what they had done to these people and this once beautiful mountain.

The ground began to vibrate as they grew closer to the where the trolls had last been spotted. It was rhythmic and it didn’t take them long to realize the shaking was being caused by heavy footsteps. Azriel got low, signaling for the others to follow suit and move slow. They had no idea how many trolls there actually were and didn’t want to walk blindly into them. They came to the top of a ridge and looked down. Azriel counted twenty, male and female, all carrying weapons. He ducked back down and gestured for everyone to move closer. “Bryant, Harlem, and Yoki, I want you to head around to the right, Temperance and Clio, take Phelan and go left. Vrai, Euphemia and I will go straight down the middle. Stay out of sight until I signal for you. I don’t want them knowing there are more than three of us until I need them to.” They all nodded. “If you can, wound them, but if you have to don’t hesitate to kill them. They may not show us the same kindness.”

“And remember their reach is long.” Vrai added. “Please stay as safe as possible.”

“You three as well.” Temperance said.

“Alright go.” Azriel ordered softly.

Chapter Two

Azriel walked with confidence with Vrai on one side and Euphemia on the other. Confidence was key when you wanted to talk someone down and avoid violence. These were massive trolls but he easily summoned up a cool composure, knowing who all he was surrounded by. In their years they had fought much worse creatures than these. When the first one noticed and turned his angry eyes to Azriel they all noticed. There was an instant shift in aggressiveness, they all seemed ready to rip him limb from limb but Euphemia, Vrai and Azriel didn’t let fear show on their face.

“we said get out!” spit flew as the troll bellowed “what right have you to kick everyone off this mountain? Three headed trolls have never lived here. You’ve chased off and murdered people who have been living here countless generations” They started surrounding them but still the three kept calm and collected. “I wouldn’t expect you to understand” another said and Azriel had to use great self restraint not to roll his eyes at the creature “well one of you needs to explain to me what is going on. I am here on the king and queens behalf”

“How do we know?”

“You’ve never heard the name Azriel and the elite group he leads?” There was a collective growl and a female answered “we have, is it really just you three then?”

“yes” He lied easily though he couldn’t tell if they believed him. He knew he needed the others to have at least some element of surprise. He, his husband and one of his group were surrounded by beings multiple times their size. Euphemia could control them with her gift but only if she could get them to look into her eyes.

How do we know that’s true?”

“You don’t, but you can either tell me what I want to know or further waste our time. What made you tear through villages of innocent men, women and children? What right did you have to leave their battered corpses in your wake?”

“We do what it tells us to do. We told them to leave, they refused, it told us to chase them away so we did.”

“It?”

“Something old, under the ice and snow.”

“And “it” gives you the right to murder? You didn’t even give them a chance. You can out stride any normal human, you can reach further and hit harder. What “it” would tell you to cause such devastation?”

Harlem was tense from his vantage point. He knew why Azriel had Euphemia come with them for the initial talk but he hated being far away, he hated that those trolls who had killed everyone they saw as they came up this mountain were within reaching distance of her. He knew she still had no inkling of his feelings and he knew she may still reject him one day but he still felt protective of her. They all looked out for each other but for him, she was his everything, even now when she wasn’t giving him a second glance or thought. “don’t you dare rush out there without the signal” Bryant whispered seriously, causing Harlem to sigh.

“we will take you to it.” One of the male trolls said after a few more moments of talking. The others started to bicker but another one lifted a silencing hand “if these are messengers of the king and queen then we best take them. The being that told us to do this may be a fearsome creature but I have not forgotten the strength of those who rule our kingdom. Nor have I forgotten the penalties of taking lives without good reason. We will take these people so they can see the reason we have”

Azriel didn’t signal for them to come out so they assumed the role of following undetected. It had been awhile since they were able to put training for this to good use so Yoki actually found himself excited. Twins, Temperance and Clio, were just eager to see whatever was apparently living in this mountain. What had it said to the trolls to make them do this? How had it gone undetected for so long or at least how had it made its way on to this mountain without anybodies knowledge. They would think if a soul knew about it the king and queen would have been informed when they asked for help that something had moved in.

They could feel the creature before they could see it. It was like the air was suddenly thicker and filled with death and fear. It made Vrai feel sick to his stomach and when he glanced between Azriel and Euphemia he could see that their pupils had dilated and their noses were flaring. They were scared and trying not to show it. He actually reached over and took Azriel’s hand and this seemed to calm the sudden need to flee. “I’m okay.” He said under his breath. “Euphemia, breathe, it’s okay.”

She nodded, taking a few deep breaths to center herself. “This feels wrong?” She whispered.

“Very.”

When they saw the creature they were taken aback. It perched atop a platform of ice and looked down at them, it’s hungry gaze sliding over each of them. The dark feeling of dread emanated from it, seeping into the body of anything that came close to it. The only thing keeping it at bay was the ice it was encased in. “It called to us, it wants out.” The troll leader said and they could all see some of the ice had indeed been broken off.

Azriel was afraid but he dared question the creature. “why did you order everyone off the mountain before you were let out?” It stared at them and the longer it did that the more fearful they became. It did eventually speak though. “Weather they were aware of it or not they were keeping me in here” it’s voice alone was enough to make your skin crawl but they hoped they were putting up a good brave front. “The first settlers….long before kings and queens ruled, locked me in here with a spell, a spell that they told me could never be broken as long as their bloodline lived here. Each and every one of them, they fuel the spell holding me but now…now they are gone thanks to these kind trolls. Soon, I will break out completely” it laughed, it’s laughter so haunting it almost made Euphemia scream “so many will be sorry for doing this to me…they had no right”

Azriel’s hand moved to his sword, his fingers wrapping tightly around the hilt until his knuckles were white. “I can’t let them do this, I won’t.”

The creature laughed and they all fought the urge to step back. “Pathetic little human, what can you do. Look at you tremble. I will enjoy watching you die.”

Azriel drew his sword and let out a whistle which had the others breaking from cover as the creature issued an order to the trolls to kill. He hazarded a glance at the thing as he ducked under the swing of one of the trolls and could see how delighted it was at the prospect of bloodshed. He could see clawed fingers flexing, trying to break free. How would they be able to contain such a creature?

Azriel was worried for the entire kingdom now. The trolls had done something far worse than they probably understood. They had removed the only thing keeping such a terrible creature in check. He wondered if the first settlers here had stayed in sacrifice, knowing the more that lived there the stronger the containment spell was. Azriel had a much deeper respect for the people here now, especially if the current generation had known what they were doing for their land. The others had managed to stay close enough they were helping in moments “I knew there were more!” one troll yelled angrily.

Euphemia managed to get one to look her in the eyes a moment and forced her to run to the castle to turn herself in to the king and queen. She made sure to tell her she couldn’t hurt anybody along the way. She knew she could have used the female to fight but she had never had the heart to make comrades fight each other. They had done some terrible things but she never saw that as a reason for her to be terrible. Things had to follow her orders to completion before they had free will again so she knew nobody would get hurt using her skill this way.

One of the males cursed angrily “you little bitch!” he swung his mallet, managing to land a blow on her head. She started to fly but Harlem used his magic to pull her, making her land safely away from the fighting. Azriel yelled over the battle “make sure she’s okay Phelan!” They needed Harlems magic so Azriel wanted to be sure it wasn’t him running off to see how badly she was hurt. Their pain, having to wonder just how much damage had been done to their comrade only fueled them. These were incredibly strong creatures and none of them got to look at her long enough to know if she was going to be okay.

Phelan knelt by Euphemia “shit” there was so much blood and she was unconscious. He checked her pulse and sighed with relief then yelled “she’s alive!” He knew that was better than not knowing anything at all. He pulled some supplies out of a small bag at his side to tend to her. This wasn’t the best place to tend wounds but he would do what he could to keep her alive until someone better skilled could take care of her. One of the trolls tried to run at the two, preying on Euphemias weak state and the fact Phelan was busy trying to tend her wounds “No you fucking don’t” Harlem yelled and everyone felt the fury in his words.

The troll charging them was seized by a black, swirling mass that squeezed him, taking the breath out of him until he was left unconscious. He ringed Phelan and Euphemia in a wall of thick ice and reinforced it with a seal that would keep them safe. He summoned astral wolves that jumped on and tore at the trolls. Even when one went down, another soon took its place, it was like there was no end to them. Even though he was angry, he kept them from killing the trolls, only wanting to make them weak and bring them down. Azriel fought back to back with Vrai, wanting him close in case anything happened. These trolls had been driven mad by that creature, it was like a blood lust and the monster enjoyed it.

“Harlem, reinforce the ice around that thing.” Azriel yelled over the fray. Even if it was a temporary solution, at least it might buy them time to lock it away for good and keep its influence from spreading.

Chapter Three

Harlem poured more of his power into it than he probably should since there was a lot of fighting to be done but he held more anger for the creature that started this than these trolls. If he hadn’t done this then Euphemia wouldn’t be injured. He couldn’t lose her, not before he told her how he felt. How was he supposed to keep on living without her, especially if he had wasted all the time he had to tell her. The demon screeched, hurting their ears. The trolls proved less able to take the nice than they could. It seemed the stupid beast had disoriented the beings on his own side in his anger. It was what they needed to get the upper hand in the situation.

Yoki cut himself, resorting to his blood magic. This was a more risky thing Yoki did but Azriel was proud of the choice. He was taking advantage of their upper hand. If he went ahead and brought out his most powerful magic then they might be able to get Euphemia help sooner. They didn’t love her in the way Harlem did but this team just wouldn’t be the same without her. They had all been together so long and as each year passed a loss was only more unthinkable. Yokis big gamble paid off, with his team and his blood they won despite the fact the victory caused him to collapse. Bryant was over to him in the blink of an eye. He lifted Yoki “I’ll tend to him until he wakes up Azriel”

“good” Azriel walked over angrily glareing “you hurt two of MY people”

“technically that pink haired one hurt himself” Azriel gritted his teeth so Vrai took his hand to calm him. He had always been taught it was best to keep a level head. Anger often lead people to make poor choices. “what do we do now sir?” Clio asked. “Harlem” Harlem came to his side, his voice still wroth. “I know you want to be there for Euphemia but watch this thing. Keep him in there while we tend to Euphemia and Yoki. I’ll decide what’s next when we’re sure they are through the worst of it. We need to assess how seriously Euphemia is hurt quickly. The next thing may be to have Phelan get her off this mountain. He’d be able to get back down quicker than the rest of us”

“shall I imprison the trolls too so if they wake they can’t go anywhere?”

“you still have enough in you for that and to make sure this thing can’t get out”

“I’m sure” Azriel decided to trust his judgement and gave him the okay to use his magic to imprison the trolls so they couldn’t do anything else if they woke. At full capacity ice might not do much to keep them in line but even if they did get up they’d be weak from their wounds.

“Yoki’s going to be fine.” Bryant said once he finished bandaging his companions wrist. “He used a lot of blood, but not enough for it to be dangerous. He’ll need rest and a lot of food to bring his sugar and iron levels back up.”

“What about Euphemia?” Azriel asked.

“I want to take her back down.” Phelan said. “I’m afraid she may have suffered a concussion and I think her skull was severely fractured. It would be best if I get her to a healer.”

“Let me make you something to drag her down on.” Harlem said.

“You’re going to make yourself sick if you keep going like that.” Clio said softly.

“It’s alright, I’m fine with being sick as long as she gets the help she needs.” He held up his hand, closed his eyes and started chanting. They watched as the sled came into being, real and solid. He nearly collapsed, but he forced himself to stay on his feet. He had to keep the creature locked up. Phelan lifted Euphemia onto the sled and Azriel took his cloak off and draped it over her to keep her from getting too cold.

“Stay safe and go slow. I know you want to get her help, but you don’t need to injure yourself as well.”

“Of course, all of you stay alert, I would hate to lose any of you to that thing.”

“your only concern is her. You get her to someone, please” Harlem said and Phelan nodded. Phelan took off and Azriel said “Clio is right, calm down and stop over using your magic. Euphemia is gone and will be far from this” he balled his hands into fists at his side “I shouldn’t have let her get hurt in the first place” Azriel put a hand on his shoulder “all of us get wounded badly from time to time, it’s a part of this job. Phelan will make sure she’s okay but as your leader I’m telling you. Only do what you must until I say otherwise. We are down two and are still up against the being that started this.”

“yes sir” Azriel looked at the being incased in ice. It looked far too happy about all of this. “what’re you going to do?” it asked tauntingly as if the creature was certain he was still getting out. “I wouldn’t be so smug if I were you. Harlem has been known to act foolishly when it comes to Euphemia. You keep pisisng him off and he wont listen to me any longer”

“only shows how weak you are”

“shut up!” Clio yelled and her sister grabbed her arm “Clio, Azriel, I want to talk to you but I don’t want that thing to hear. I have an idea” The being chuckled ‘go, whisper your little plans. Nothing could contain me before those people locked me here and nothing ever will again! I’m coming, that little purple haired shit will run out of energy and then I’ll go straight for Euphemia” it laughed the last few words “I’ll do it just to spite you Harlem” Harlem was shaking and Azriel rushed away with the twins. They needed to do something before it taunted Harlem into over exerting himself.

“this is going to sound crazy but Azriel you’re right. If we keep forcing Harlem to stay close to it he’s going to drive him into not listening to reason. I’m pretty sure thats what it is trying to do. Clio and I could make a devils trap symbol, a really large one. As far as history says it never fails at trapping if we can just get him into it. Then something else entirely can hold it and the creature will be exposed enough to me I can rip its heart out. It may be powerful but maybe it’ll die if I remove his heart”

“I haven’t seen you rip out a heart in some time Temperance. Are you sure of this plan? This isn’t the type of thing we can afford any slip ups with.”

“it’s the only one I have and Harlem can’t keep listening to it or using his magic. I will understand however if you want to shut it down”

“It’s the only plan on the table and you’re absolutely right.” Azriel waved over Bryant and Vrai to share the plan with them. They walked back over and the girls ran off “where do they go?” the creature asked and Azriel didn’t answer. “Nobody is to speak to it any more” Azriel commanded and they all nodded. Harlem was happy not to speak to it. He simply kept glaring in it’s direction, praying Euphemia would be alive when this was all over.

Phelan took the fast way down when he was out of Harlem’s sight, crouching on the sled and letting it slide down the mountain, guiding it with his body to keep it from turning over. He had done this a lot in his youth since he never got cold and it always fascinated the other children and scared the adults. He would be sure to not tell Harlem, not wanting him to worry. He slowed it as he came to the bottom, turning it sideways and pulling back slightly so it slid to a stop. He then got off and looped the rope around his waist to pull Euphemia the rest of the way.

The twins came back after awhile and nodded to Azriel who had Bryant take Yoki out of the cave. He was still unconscious and should anything go wrong, he didn’t want him in harms way. He then walked over and placed a hand on Harlem’s shoulder. “You can stop now and back away from it.”

“I can’t, if I do it’ll get out.”

He squeezed Harlem’s shoulder and Harlem looked at him. “Do you trust me?”

“Yes, absolutely.”

“Then you can stop, you’re drained and you need to recuperate. You know, Euphemia wouldn’t be happy if she saw you being so stubborn.”

“That’s unfair.”

“But true.”

“it said it would go after her..’

“Harlem, we’d never let anything happen to Euphemia. Besides us you wouldn’t, you’d get that thing right back here and away from her if you had to. I know you love her that much even though you’re too stupid just to tell her”

“I do tell her”

“directly, you have to notice she doesn’t get that you’re flirting with her. You have to be direct for her to know your feelings”

“I will but I wont have the chance if this takes her from me”

“just trust me, I’ve been leading you for hundreds of years.” Harlem nodded and though it was hard he let it loose. “run with me” they ran off and just as they hoped it pursued. They were careful not to bother what the girls had created as they lured it. They didn’t know if the being was just that sure he was unbeatable and had the advantage or that dull from being contained so long but it fell right into their trap. The second it was in and at their mercy Temperance swooped in, sinking her claws into his chest. It;s laugh was eerie as she pulled her hand out in shock. It spoke taking the words right out of her mouth “I don’t have a heart” It struck her, sending her flying from the circle. Temperance was almost glad Harlem didn’t catch her as he had Euphemia because she also wanted him to stop over exerting himself.

It somehow got out of the hold. This thing was ancient and this only showed it’s power further. How the hell could it just run out. They had to think of something else and fast. Harlem knew he had been told not to use any more magic but he’d take whatever punishment Azriel had to dish out. He needed to stop this thing before it got to her. He created a Soul Catcher. ancient people used these items made out of bear bones for far more powerful things than what most history had recorded. He had found out their other uses when studying old diaries of the departed. In such diaries he also learned how to destroy anything locked inside so if this worked, if he could get it in this he could destroy this being forever.

When it came to be he stabbed teh creature with it. He almost felt disbelief when it actually worked. He wasted no time once it was inside destroying what he had just made and what would have rested inside it. Azriel approached and Harlem said “I don’t care how angry you are”

“I’m not angry, good work Harlem”

“we need to return now”

“then lets get going” They hurried off the mountain, returning to their king and queen as fast as they could. When they got their audience the queen said “Phelan has already spoken to us. Just fill us in on what happened after he left with Euphemia and Harlem, she’s in the medical wing of the castle. Go to her, Azriel is the only one we really need to talk to” he was grateful for the dismissal and ran off, not worrying about disrespecting them. He knew they weren’t the type of rulers to make a big deal out of it. He got them up to speed then the king said “we’re sorry for the pain you all went through but you’ve served us well yet again. My wife and I don’t know what this kingdom would do without your group”

“thank you”

“you seem down but then again you always are when any you lead get hurt. You have to know that will happen. We only send you on the worst of the worst jobs because we only trust your group to handle them”

“they mean a great deal to me so no logic will help me feeling bad. How is Euphemia?”

“we have the best working with her. Only time will tell though. She was in bad shape”

“Lug head wont let us know if she wakes up so will you send a messenger to my husband and I when she does?”

“of course, go rest with you two, you deserve it for what you’ve done for the kingdom. We are making all the trolls, even the ones not involved help with cleaning the mountain and repairing homes. The ones that survived deserve that much”

“good, thank you and please, invite them to the feast you always have made for us when we complete a job”

“of course Azriel, your payments have also already been sent to your homes as we normally do. Thank you again, no amount of money can truly show you our gratitude” Azriel smirked, they had given him everything he could ever want or need when they assigned Vrai to his group. He might have never met Vrai otherwise so as far as he was concerned they didn’t have to pay him for the rest of his life if they didn’t want to. It was he who could never repay the king and queen, not when they gave him his husband.

Walking through their front door after seeing their friends off was the best feeling in the world to Azriel and Vrai. The minute they had their weapons off and hung up, Azriel lifted Vrai over his shoulder and carried him to bed. “Hey, you’re tired, stop being such a caveman.”

“I’m never tired when I have you.” He tossed him down and climbed over him, smiling at how amused Vrai looked. “That was close, if that thing had got its claws on you it would have killed me.”

“I’m just glad everyone is all right. Well…”

“Euphemia will pull through, she’s too tough to stay down.”

“I know, I’m just worried is all. How about you, any injuries?”

“Want to check?”

“You would like that, you need rest.”

“But maybe I should check you instead.”

Vrai laughed “Azriel, rest, for me. There will be a lot of time for sex after we’ve had a good sleep and a good meal at home” Azriel whined “I guess” he leaned down, rubbing their noses together “I love you so much”

“I love you too”

“I hope you never tire of me saying that. I know I tend to say it all the time. I do mean it though”

“I wouldn’t have married you if I didn’t know you loved me dork”

“dork? Okay you’re really asking for me to take you” Vrai laughed “you’re looking for any excuse” Vrai pulled him, making Azriel lay down to sleep “goodnight”

“goodnight” They slept soundly in each others arms then made a huge meal for breakfast. They didn’t know when the feast would be, especially with Euphemia out. They knew the king and queen wouldn’t want to do it without her. The feast however didn’t matter, what mattered to them was her waking up, for hers and Harlems sake. Weeks passed before the king and queen finally held the feast which Harlem didn’t attend. He spent most of his days at her side waiting for her to get up. Everyone tried to get him to move but at this point they had learned it was pointless. Harlem would never leave the medical wing unless he was leaving with her.

Azriel understood though, seeing Harlem go through such pain made Azriel think of how much Vrai meant to him and he wanted to do something special but he didn’t know what he could do. They were married, he spoiled the man as much as he spoiled him so what was left? They even traveled all the time, for work but they still traveled. He decided to just take him to a nearby hot springs and spend a few days unwinding. He figured they could go there and just forget the world. When he brought it up to Vrai, Vrai said “as long as we make a pact not to talk about anything negative going on. I want us to go to that hot spring and just be us for awhile”

“Thats precisely what I want, deal” They left that same day, leaving the pain and every day troubles behind. They knew it might be a bit selfish but they had earned the right and Azriel was eager to spend a day or two simply spoiling and making love to his husband. The kingdoms troubles could be put off but Euphemia had reminded Azriel that if you put off showing someone you love them too long you might just lose your chance.

~ The End

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