Dawn and Saul walked quickly to the throne room, wanting to tell her father as well as the king and Queen that they were ready to leave as soon as the sun rose to catch the serial killer Iban Stiltz. Their journey would take them into the desert where Iban had gone hoping to find refuge. He was crafty and not above manipulating innocent people to get what he wanted. They heard voices as they approached the throne room, one in particular catching Dawn’s attention. She knew this new voice, but was having trouble placing it. She pushed the doors open and stopped dead in her tracks, causing Saul to run into her and bump her forward.
“Dawn, it’s so nice to see you.” Jarren said as he crossed the throne room and hugged her. He kissed her cheek and she pushed him back.
“Jarren, what a surprise. When did you get back?” She grabbed Saul’s hand for strength.
Jarren looked displeased with her showing affection to Saul. She wondered if his parents had told him of their wedding to be held in a month. “Who is this?” He asked, sizing Saul up, his deep blue eyes looking for any weaknesses.
“My fianc√© Saul. Saul this in the prince.” Saul held out his hand and Jarren took it. They stared into each other’s eyes for a moment then dropped their hands. Dawn cleared her throat. “We just came to tell the king and Queen and my father that we would be leaving in the morning.”
“Oh really? Where are you going?”
“To my homeland.” Saul answered. “We have been asked to hunt down a very dangerous man.”
“Have you packed all you need?” Amhr asked.
“Yes daddy, everything is in order. I even have extra water ready to be packed on the mule you insisted we bring.”
“Good girl. Be careful out there. It is very dangerous. Saul, you take care of my daughter.”
“I swear on my life that I will bring her back safely and swiftly.” Saul replied with a bright smile.
“Hmm, I would like to accompany you dearest Dawn.” Jarren said.
“The desert is no place for you. Besides, do you even know how to use a weapon? You could die.” Dawn said in irritation.
“I can use a sword expertly, you should know that” Dawn wanted to retort “why would I know that, I really don’t care about you” but refrained so not to disrespect the queen and king. She instead said “You cannot slow us down. I know you’re the prince but we cant dawdle for your sake or the criminal will get away and more innocent people will die. Are you sure you can keep up and actually want to go on such a grueling journey?”
“I knwo I can keep up. I will meet you and Saul in the morning. I can go can’t I father?” Jarren turned to ask. “Do not slow her down and you can go. I will be wroth if she reports back telling me you hindered her. Especially if you cause the criminal to escape her, understand?”
“Yes sir” The kings attention turned to Dawn “Thank you for your service again Dawn. I bid you safe travels in the morning” Dawn and Saul bowed then left the room. They quickly went home. Once they entered their house Dawn groaned “I can’t believe he’s going”
“It will be fine Dawn.”
“You don’t know how annoying he is” Saul kissed Dawn then pulled her into a hug. “It will be fine, this is work. We’ll make him as miserable as possible and maybe he’ll take his horse and go home. He’s obviously very pampered. I doubt life on the chase will suit him.” Dawn laughed “I can barely imagine that man in a tent. Thanks Saul. I feel better” Saul kissed her head “glad I could help my love” They prepared a nice dinner since the meals while chasing criminals were never very good. They weren’t bad, in fact some were tasty but being home with access to spices and things made meals much tastier.
After they were finished eating the crawled in bed and fell quickly asleep. The nexr morning Dawn woke before the sun was even above the horizon. She had been doing this so long that she found it hard to sleep past a certain time unless she was compltely exhausted. She shook Saul and his eyes snapped open. He smiled up at her and stretched before following her out of bed. They changed into clean clothes and made sure they had their weapons. Dawn knew their horses and supplies would be waiting for them when they got to the castle.
She sighed in exasperation at the thought of traveling with Jarren. He was always so flirtatious and a constant headache. No matter how many times she told him he was an obnoxious creep, he just kept coming back. Not even the fact that she was with Saul would stop him. He wasn’t that intelligent and dressed far to nice for the road. He also wasn’t someone you would see rolling around in the mud with a criminal who had tried to escape.
“Are you alright?” Saul asked as they made their way to the castle.
“I had hoped that this whole Jarren thing was a terrible dream and that when I woke up he wouldn’t be at the castle.”
“He can’t be that bad.”
“You have no idea. He used to follow me everywhere when we were kids. His little crush turned into an annoying obsession and if he were anyone else I would have already kicked his ass.”
Saul laughed and laced his fingers through hers. “I’ll be with you the whole time.” She moved closer to him and he kissed her as they went through the front gate where Jarren was waiting with the horses and mule that would be carrying their supplies. Winter whinnied happily and Dawn rubbed the beautiful horse’s nose.
“Did you miss me sweetness?” Winter pressed her head into Dawn’s chest. “We’re going on another adventure.”
“You always did love that horse more than anything.” Jarren said as he climbed onto his horse.
“That’s not true is it Winter. We both know I love Saul just a little more.”
“Your fiance has mangaed such a feat? Shocking and what about me, why do I not get your love?”
“Because you’re a creep.”
Jarren guffawed “You’ve always made me laugh Dawn.” Dawn kept her eyes from rolling as she climbed on Winter. They set off down the road, Dawn already feeling uncomfortable. It was annoying how Jarren either didn’t notice or didn’t care about her¬†abhorrence for him. She felt he probably just didn’t notice since he was so full of himself. “How is it you know where to go? I don’t see you holding a map.”
“I know the lands very well but in this case Saul is leading since you haven’t noticed. The criminal is in his home land so he knows the quickest way to get there. He’s been a very helpful partner and has taught me many things that have made me better at capturing criminals.” Jarren gave a look that seemed a mixture of disapproving and disgust. He had held on to the thought he would be with Dawn one day. He felt as a prince he could win her over so he was very unhappy to see yesterday that she was going to be getting married. Jarren felt more attractive than Saul and he had more to offer her than Saul ever could. He didn’t ask or say more and just looked onward.
A silence fell between the three which felt awkward and annoying to Dawn. Saul didn’t mind it, in fact he preffered that Jarren wasn’t opening his mouth and upsetting Dawn more. Jarren was so lost in his own head at the moment the silence went unnoticed for him. Jarren grew hungry around eleven “I need to eat somthing”
“There’s still an hour until lunch Jarren. We don’t stop until tweleve so that we will be fine traveling until the sun is setting. You promised not to slow us”
“Fine” Jarren said in an annoyed tone. He was used to eating whenever he pleased. Not being used to waiting on food, by the time they stopped he felt as if he were dieing. Saul had to do his best not to laugh at this grown man who was acting like a hungry five year old. He had never seen a man so shamelessly act this way. Saul took over cooking since he was better at making things taste good while they were on the road. He cooked some rabbit as quickly as possible while Dawn gave the horses apples.
“Alright, dinner’s ready.” Saul said and filled three bowls.
Dawn sat down next to Saul and Jarren sat next to her. He took a bite of the meat and wrinkled his nose a little. “What is this?” He asked.
“Rabbit, sorry it’s not seasoned all that good, but it fills you up at least.” Saul replied.
“Be grateful Jarren. We could always let you starve.” Dawn took another bite and then leaned over and kissed Saul’s cheek. “This is really good baby, thank you.”
They ate the rest of their meal in silence then put out the fire and packed up. They were back on their horses and riding away in no time. Saul moved his horse closer to Winter and took Dawn’s hand. He enjoyed always being connected her.
“So how did you two meet?” Jarren asked, sounding slightly irritated.
“Dawn was hunting me for a crime I did not commit. I made her chase me for a long time.”
“You were a criminal?”
“Are you deaf, he just said a crime he did not commit. I thought he was a bad guy, but it turned out that he had been falsely accused.” Dawn was read to throw something at him.
“Of what exactly?”
“Rape.” Saul answered honestly. He saw no reason to lie since he had been cleared and his accuser was behind bars.
Jarren choked on his own spit and started coughing. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Dawn had married someone who could easily ruin her reputation if the rumors of his crime were still circulating. ait was insantiy. He finally managed to stop coughing and just sat there in stunned silence. He had to talk to her about it without the desert rat interfering. They rode until it was to dark to see, stopping to make camp on the side of the road. They set up their tents and Saul made a stew with potatos, carrots, and the left over rabbit.
Jarren was still in shock as he sat there. It angered him that Saul would even be with Dawn after being accused of committing such a crime. He obviously didn’t care about her or he would care enough not to be with her and risk sullying Dawns good name. Jarren saw no opportunity to give Dawn a stern talking to about Saul so he just went into his tent annoyed. Jarren was tremendously uncomfortable sleeping in a sleeping bag inside of a tent. The bug and animal noises was also getting on his nerves. He was used to a warm bed in a silent room when he laid to rest. Dawn was wrapped up in Sauls arms trying to enjoy the beat of his heart but she couldn’t since she could hear the constant flipping and discontented noises of Jarren. She kissed Sauls chest then whispered ” Lets put his tent further from ours next time” Saul smiled “It’s his first night Dawn” Jarren heard her and became even more upset. He barely slept and was nowhere ready to move when he heard Dawn leave her tent. He made himself get up anyway since he could tell Saul had not followed and was probably sleeping.
Dawn sighed when Jarren came out “I need to talk to you Dawn”
“Saul, he was accused of rape. That rumor could still be floating. Do you even realize what it could do to your flawless reputation?”
“The King and Queen believe him, that should be good enough for the public. Especially since she unknowingly ratted herself out for being a liar. Even if he was still falsely seen as a rapist I would be with him. He is the most wonderful man I have ever known, far greater than you so just stop it Jarren. You only care because you wont give up on being with me. That sad little thing in your pants just lusts for me too much for you to move on.”
“You have never seen my manhood so have no right to call it small” Saul heard the raised voices and got out of the tent “what is all this?” Dawn went over and kissed him just to shove it in Jarrens face. When she pulled back she said “Jarren is upset I’m with you and thinks it will ruin my reputation since you were accused of rape, not that he’s truly concerned about it.”
Saul gave a laugh then turned his gaze on Jarren. “Listen here, just because your parents are the king and queen does not mean I won’t leave you out here to fend for yourself. If you upset Dawn again I will tie you to a tree, cover you in meat and leave you for the wild animals.” He said it with a smile, but his eyes said murder. He turned his attention back to Dawn, his eyes warm and loving. “Why don’t you pack up the tent while I make us something good for breakfast.”
“Okay, thank you.”
Saul built a fresh fire and made some sugar butter rice. It was easy to make and didn’t need much in the way of seasoning. “You’re a good little wife aren’t you?” Jarren said and Saul smiled.
“It’s not my fault that you are to incompetent to cook for yourself. Both Dawn and I have spent a lot of time in the castle’s kitchen since the cook is one of the best. She makes the best pies.” Jarren just rolled his eyes and took the bowl Saul offered. Dawn sat down close to Saul and took her own bowl.
“I love this stuff.” She said as she ate. “It’s one of my favorite comfort foods. I wish we had some milk.”
“It would just spoil. Especially once we get into the desert.”
“If we have time, do you think you could show me those sword dancers. You said the street performers were the best.”
“Of course I can love, anything for you. Maybe we can pick up some material to make a dress for you. I really like seeing you in your girly clothes. I want something that matches your eyes.” She blushed and he kissed her cheek. “Sorry to embarrass you love, but you wear dresses so rarely.”
“I love that you love me in them.” Jarren rolled his eyes again and quickly finished his meal then went and broke down his tent.
Dawn and Saul once again held hands as they trotted down the road. Jarren only getting more agitated at the sight of them. He now saw why he couldn’t win Dawns affection, her taste in men was obviously poor. He comforted himself in thoughts that she just saw him as too good. She apparently wanted a lowlife that acted as if he were the wife in the relationship. He would talk to his parents when they got back to the castle and ask them to explain why on earth they found this man suitable to be anywhere near their home. He also wanted to know how they came upon clearing his name of the rape charges.
He wondered if perhaps he could get Saul blamed for another crime. Then Dawn would need a shoulder to cry on and he would offer his. He was so full of himself he actually began thinking he could do such a thing and win Dawn that way. He had to show her men of this nature weren’t suited to her. That she needed to be with someone better, him to be precise. Saul brought Dawns hand to his lips multiple times as they rode making Jarren want to impale the man.
Jarren was so lost in his head he almost didn’t turn when they did. He jerked his horse hard making it whine in pain. Dawn spoke angrily “don’t you dare hurt your horse like that because you can’t pay attention. That was uncalled for! The poor creatures neck, how would you like someone to jerk your head like that?”
“This horse is here to serve me. I know you love these beasts like humans but it’s also not like I was simply being creul. I almost missed my turn”
“You could ahve just made it wider” Saul added cooly.
He glared at Saul who didn’t care for his childish antics. He simply went back to enjoying being with Dawn. “We should be nearing the border between your land and mine.” He said. “It is quite amazing, one side is rolling sand dunes and the other is green grass and forest..”
“I can’t wait. I know we’re supposed to be tracking down a killer, but I am so excited to see where you came from.” He chuckled and kissed her cheek.
“We will have to make sure to stay hydrated and keep the animals hydrated. The fruit the cook had packed will help a lot. Do not wander off on your own no matter what. If we need food I will hunt it since you are both unfamiliar with the region.”
“Do you understand that Jarren. The desert is no place for proving how manly you are.” Dawn said, looking over her shoulder.
“Yes, I get it. Stop mothering me.” He snapped and she turned away from him. Two hours later a break came in the woods and Dawn gasped in amazement. It looked like someone had drawn a line in the earth and designated one side to the desert and the other to lush green forest.
“The city we are heading for is two days from here. The ride will be rough so pay close attention. There are venomous snakes and large desert cats. They will not hesitate to kill you. I will make sure we have a fire burning at all times to keep them at bay. There are a couple of oasises on the way where we can rest in the shade of we need to. Don’t push the horses and mule to hard since they were not raised in the desert heat. I’m not trying to be bossy, but this place is just as dagerous as the forest.”
“We understand love and will listen to your every word. If you say to run then we will run. There will be no unecessary risk taking.”
“Thank you” Saul kissed Dawns cheek again and smiled. Dawn smiled back as he spoke again “I can’t have anything happening to you” Jarren scoffed which Dawn and Saul ignored. They moved slowly onward, letting the horses go at their own pace. They were not in the dessert long before Jarren was sweating and miserable. Dawn seemed barely effected by the heat and Saul of course wasn’t atall. Dawn was used to dealing with uncomfortable weather when she chased criminals and Saul had grown up in the heat. Jarren on the other hand spent his life pampered and in very comfortable conditions.
Saul could tell the horses were tiring but he also knew how close they were to an oasis. “the horses are tired but we’re very close so i want to keep going. Lets get off and walk with them the rest of the way to the oasis.” Dawn hopped right off, happy to oblige since she too could feel Winter tiring. Jarren stayed on at first until Dawn glared. He let out an angry grunt and got off. “How are you not hot Dawn?”
“I am but I’m not spoiled like you. I can be uncomfortable without being a baby”
“But you aren’t sweating?”
“I am just not a lot because I dressed for the weather. I knew the trip would be hot so I wore clothes designed to keep you as cool as possible in the heat. Your clothing is way too thick and formal. You will probably over heat in it.”
“I’ll just go shirtless tomorrow.” Dawn didn’t comment back. She just walked between her horse and fiance while Jarren continued to follow behind them. Jarren felt it was ridiculous that they were walking. Their horses could have carried them the rest of the way, that’s what horses are for. Jarren was broken away from his thoughts when he heard the hissing and angry noises of a Topu Cat. Topu Cats were thick with muscles and stood half the size of their horses. It was only one which saw was grateful for but he told Dawn and Jarren to stay back because he could handle it on his own. Jarren thought the man crazy, he didn’t have any sort of weapon on him, how would he fight such a beast?
The cat and Saul stared at each other as they circled one another. The cat got low and pounced and Saul rolled out of the way. The cat turned and ran at Saul who spun and kicked the cat in the head with first his right foot and then his left. The cat let out a painful yowl and sneezed as it tried to get the sand out of its nose. Saul stared it down and it turned tail and ran. He brushed the sand from his clothes then went back to Dawn and Jarren.
“I can’t believe it just ran.” Jarren said.
“Once they realize that you are a threat to them they tend to back off.” Saul explained.
“You didn’t even have a weapon.”
“I am a weapon. The biggest art of my people is sword dancing. You don’t need a sword to use their techniques. My body is my weapon.”
Jarren thought that sounded stupid coming out of his mouth and attributed his win to dumb luck. Dawn used a blade and a bow when she hunted which he found smart. He huffed and they continued on. The oasis came into sight and they let their horses and the mule go to drink some water and eat some of the grass growing nearby. Dawn got down on her knees and splashed some water on her face and wet her hair. It dribbled down her neck and soaked her shirt, making both men stop in their tracks. Dawn picked up a small stone and threw it at Jarren.
“Quit staring.” She said.
“He’s staring too.”
“He’s my fiance, now stop whining and take a break. We won’t be here all day.”
“fine” Jarren said in a¬†flustered tone. He drank some then sat down. Once they were fully hydrated and their animals seemed well rested they continued on.Dawns shirt had dried so was no longer a distraction. Saul was glad Dawn had been smart about her clothing but she was always thinking ahead. He had never met sucha ¬†level headed woman. When she lost her temper that went away but for the most part she was always clever and made sure she was prepared for what may lay ahead. Jarren ended up taking his shirt off because of the heat. He stuffed it into his bag and sighed, feeling much better. He looked over at Dawn to see if she was looking but her sights seemed to stay on Saul or the land ahead. Jarren groaned, feeling he was definitly worth her gaze but didn’t say a word. It was much too hot to fight.
The heat began to take more of a toll on Dawn but she toughed it out, not once complaining. Complaints wouldn’t help how hot she felt. They continued on until the moon hung high in the sky. Dawns mouth dropped, she could see more stars here than she ever had before. Saul smiled at his fiance’s happiness. Saul hoped they would get to another oasis to rest but it was late and he knew the next one wasn’t close enough to get to tonight. He felt it was all for the better anyway. An oasis made for a nice break for the animals and Dawn. He didn’t much care how hot the spoiled prince was.
They set up their tents and ate fruit for dinner. Dawn gave the animals as much as they would eat and some sugar cubes she brought as a reward for their hard work. Saul tended to the mule then they settled for rest. Saul held Dawn tightly, fearing somthing grabbing her ankle and dragging her out of the tent during the night. Jarren actually liked sleeping out here better than in the woods. There wasn’t any noise to be heard so he shut his eyes and quickly found rest. “How’s this part of the trip on you Dawn?” Saul asked softly. “It’s fine”
“I could tell how miserable you were towards the end”
“It’s not that bad Saul, nothing I can’t get used to.” Saul kissed her head “I love you so much”
“I love you too”
The next morning Saul happily hummed and cooked while Dawn and Jarren broke down camp. Jarren kept glancing at Dawn every time she’d bend over and she resisted the urge to hit him with one of the tent poles. She folded and wrapped everything then tied it to the mule. She sat down next to Saul and quickly ate, wanting to get going before it got to hot. Once breakfast was over Saul doused the fire and they climbed onto their horses. They pushed the animals a little hard since it was still early morning and cool.
Saul suddenly pulled his horse to a halt, making it slide in the sand. Dawn and Jarren did the same and wondered why he had stopped. He got off his horse and raised his hand to warn them to stay put. He took Dawn’s sword and moved slowly forward. A long, slow hiss filled the silence and then Saul came back with a snake in his hand. He had a hold of its head and it was hissing angrily. He handed Dawn her sword and held the snake up for them to see.
“This is a Fidi.” The snake was the same color as the sand save for the black speckles that went down its back. The top of its head had a black diamond shape on it. “They strike at anything that happens by whether it be horse or man. They always hiss a warning before attacking so if you hear one do not move and call for me. Do not try to pick it up as I am doing! I have dealt with them a lot.”
“Have you ever been struck by one?” Dawn asked.
“Once, but luckily it was a dry bite so no venom was injected. A dry bite is a warning bite.” He walked a little ways off and released the snake then went back to Dawn and Jarren and got back in his saddle. They rode until lunch then stopped to feed and water the horses and mule and then themselves. Even though it was blazing hot, Dawn couldn’t help but see the beauty in such a harsh landscape.
Saul smiled at her “You like this?”
“It’s beautiful. I’m sure you enjoyed growing up around here.” Saul smiled “I’m happy anywhere, there’s beauty everywhere you go. For instance, if I had never left this place I would have never met you” Jarren suddenly interrupted, just as Dawn had forgotten about his precense “Are you two serious? Dawn, this place is miserable. I’ve never been so hot” Dawn sighed “anywhere would be miserable for you Jarren. You are always indoors. It’s a rarity for you to be out like this and normally you are in a royal carriage. This place is beautiful if you were able to appreciate it.”
Jarren sighed “I’ve been getting out more” Dawn grabbed Sauls hand before speaking again to help her control her frustration. “That’s good” she said then kissed Sauls cheek “Why haven’t we come back to your home sooner?”
“We’ve been planning a wedding and we go on jobs frequently. When we’re home I’m only thinking of enjoying our time to ourselves. We can make more trips out here. I’d like our children to get to know my home aswell and to learn to use their bodies as weapons like I do.” Dawn smiled “I’m glad, I would rather have them learn to fight your way rather than mine.”
“Of course, why wouldn’t I? I’d love to watch you teach them and have them experience all of their heritage. This place should be just as much a part of them as my homeland.” Dawn was also considering the possibility of living out here one day. She knew that if she never returned Jarrens feelings he wouldn’t let her keep her house on castle grounds once he took rule. His parents still had many good years but she had to prepare for a future where Jarren was king. She also feared losing her position. She loved her job and Jarren could take it away once he ruled. It was a terrible thought that she didn’t want to get her mind on. Saul gently ran a finger down Dawns cheek, notiicing her expression turn sad and worrisome. “you ok love?”
“Yeah, just thinking.” Saul pulled Dawn into his arms until they felt the animals were rested enough and ready to get up and travel again. The excitement of being so close got Dawns mind off what may happen when Jarren takes rule. All she coudl do was hold onto hope that she still had many years before having to bow to him, before he ripped her life right out of her hands. Dawn knew he was selfish and childish enough to not let her do what she loves out of spite for not returning his feelings.
“How far until the next oasis?” Jarren asked in an irritated tone.
“A couple of hours. We will rest long enough for the horses to recover and then we will continue until we reach the city.” Saul explained as they crested another large sand dune.
“How are their accommodations?”
“The King and Queen assured us that we would be able to afford the best rooms.” Dawn answered without looking back.
“My parents give you money?”
“Yes they do, but even though we were given a nice amount Saul and I will be sleeping somewhere less expensive and conspicuous. We don’t want to draw attention to ourselves.” She glanced back at him. “You on the other hand are free to do as you wish.”
Jarren glared at her back. She had deliberately challenged him, knowing he hated sleeping in low class pieces of trash. He would go with them to show he was not a weakling. “The less pricey places have the best food and in my opinion are more comfortable. They remind me of home and the happiness and warmth that comes with it. Most of the expensive places are made by foreigners with bad attitudes and staff with fake smiles. I prefer the genuine love of the native people. They will take in any weary traveler and never ask questions.”
“The man we are hunting will take advantage of this. If we don’t tread lightly he may very well kill an entire family trying to get away from us.”
“I don’t even know what he looks like.” Jarren chimed in.
“When you see him you will know. All of my people have violet eyes, darker skin, and dark hair. He will stick out.”
“How come you don’t have dark hair or really dark skin?”
“My mother was a foreigner. She had really long red hair past her thighs and was of a lighter complexion. She met my father when he crossed the border to trade then she moved to the desert.”
Jarren didn’t question Saul further. He didn’t care about the mans family, he hated Saul even though he barely knew him. He was below Dawns class and yet Saul had won her when his every attempt over the years failed. Jarren couldn’t believe his parents were giving Dawn money above her pay after her countless rejections. They should be angry at her but they seemed to still hold her in very high regards. It was a slap in the face that he would call them on when he returned home. The kept going until the horses became panicked. A Naervish and a Scalvrino were coming right towords them. The Scalvrions horn aimed at them. “stay away Jarren! You’ll get yourself killed! Dawn, Attack the fish looking creature with your blade. it wont be a hard kill. You leave the Scalvrino to me! It will kill you Dawn” Dawn nodded and went after the Naervish as she was told.
She sliced through it multiple times easily just as Saul had told her she could. It’s orange blood soaked her hair, clothes and skin but she barely noticed at this moment as Saul fought with the Scalvrino. She had seen him fight many things but this topped them all. Jarren just stood terrified by the also very afraid horses. The Scalvrino managed to give Saul a small nick with his horn until finally Saul grabbed it’s neck and put pressure on obviously two very specific points. It fell down, laying unconscious. “Lets run before it wakes” Saul said in a commanding tone that Jarren nor Dawn would think of disobeying. They managed to get the horses calm enough to ride and took off full speed to the next oasis. They quickly dismounted and Saul hugged Dawn. His heart still pounding. When he pulled back he said in a¬†serious tone “Out of anything you see out here. That creature is one of the worst. It’s very important you stay far away from them at all times. Even if one over powers me do not help. It can kill very easily Dawn”
“I wouldn’t go near anything out here without your guidance Saul. I’m brave but I’m far from stupid.” Saul hugged her again and they settled to eat fruit. Jarren ate without any words. He had felt true panic seeing such a large creature. He now believed Saul to be crazy since eh challenged something like that without any type of weapon. “are you ok Jarren?” Dawn asked. He was surprised she would ask “yes I’m fine, I did as your lover commanded didn’t I?”
“Yes you did, I was only checking Jarren”
“Would you like to get that goo off of you?” Dawn looked down at her clothes and noticed the orange blood had congealed.
“Yes I would, it’s incredibly sticky.”
“Jarren, please stay here while I take Dawn to get cleaned. If you need either of us just yell and we’ll come running.”
Jarren snorted and rolled his eyes. He could take care of himself. Saul and Dawn stood and he grabbed her hand, leading her away from the camp to a smaller pond concealed by a thick patch of trees. “To bad we’re chasing a bad guy and Jarren’s here.” Dawn said as she tugged off her boots and dropped them in the sand.
“The city is not that far away. We should reach it before the sun sets. I’ll make sure to get us a room far from the prince.” She pulled off the rest of her clothes and he reached for them. “I’ll wash these out and lay them out to dry. It won’t take long.”
She walked into the warm water and scrubbed the orange blood from her skin and hair. Saul took the clothes back to the main body of water and washed the blood off of them. “Won’t that contaminate the water?” Jarren asked.
“These pools are filled by an underwater stream so it is constantly being filtered out.” He didn’t even look up at Jarren as he continued cleaning then sat the clothes on some stones to dry in the hot sun. Saul sat down in the shade and stared out at the desert. He would love to live here again, but could make himself take Dawn away from her home. He wondered if she would like living on the border of the two lands that way she could easily experience them both. A few minutes later he heard Dawn call his name and he grabbed one of their blankets and her already dry clothes then headed back to the small pool. She stepped out of the water and he just stood their staring. She giggled and snatched the blanket out of his hands.
“Pervert.” She smiled and winked as she dried herself.
“I can’t help it. You being wet is very sexy.” She giggled again, making him smile happily. He handed her her clothes and took the blanket and she dressed quickly. She brushed the sand off her feet and shook out her boots before pulling them back on.
“Much better. I guess we should get hydrated and get going.” She walked past him and he smacked her playfully on her bottom. “Much more of that and we’ll never leave.” She tried for serious, but only wound up smiling and laughing.
They walked back to Jarren talking and laughing happily. He was starting to regret tagging along. Dawn had made her choice and it wasn’t him. She was the one he wanted most but he would set his sights on another, maybe a princess who would be calm and well mannered. It was still annoying but he had pride. It hurt his pride she didn’t want him but begging would be an even bigger wound to his pride. Jarren went through a mixture of anger and sadness as they traveled the last stretch of the way. Soon teh city appeared before them, the city that was housing a murderer and didn’t even know it. Atleast Dawn hoped they didn’t. If they knew that meant he had killed there aswell. Dawn knew each and every member of this town was important to Saul. “Are you going to a nice Inn or coming with us?” Dawn asked Jarren. He answered in a nettle tone “I already said I was coming”
“Jeez! I was just checking Jarren”
“what I say I mean Dawn. Guide us Saul!” He said a little too demanding for Sauls taste but he just silently lead their horses to a stable. The man who owned it grew excited when he saw Saul. The two men hugged “It’s been far too long my boy! Far too long!” Jepetto said excitedly “I know friend, please, let me introduce you to my fiance” Jepetto grabbed her hand and kissed it “what an honor to meet you. Who is this other young man?” Jarren cleared his throat “I am the prince” Jepettos eyes grew wide and he bowed quickly “I’m so sorry I didn’t recognize you sire, please forgive me”
“You are forgiven” Jepetto straightened “I will keep the horses for free Saul. It’s a welcome home gift” Saul hugged the man again “we have plenty to pay you and I know you have many hungry mouths to feed.”
“You must return more Saul”
“I will, it’s just hard with Dawns work. She stays very busy”
“what is your work Dawn?” Jepetto asked curiously. “I am a knight for the king and queen. I collect bounties for them”
“wow, you did well Saul, beautiful and skilled”
“I know, I’m a lucky man but we must rest. We are all so tired from our journey”
“Of course” They lead the horses in and then walked to find a Inn for the night. Once they found one that another close friend of Sauls ran they entered. Once again Saul was met with hugs and curious questions. Dawn had only just arrived and already felt like one of these people. They just made her feel so welcomed it was touching. She could see why Saul had such affection for them.
“You can have our best rooms, free of charge.” Ammos said with a warm smile.
“Nonsense, we will pay the full price.” Saul replied. Ammos started talking in a language neither Dawn nor Jarren understood. Saul spoke back in the same language and they seemed to be haggling. Saul finally threw his arms up in defeat and he and Ammos hugged again. “We aren’t paying it seems.”
“Let me get Kitrinos and Agnes to get your things and take them up to your rooms.” He turned and yelled the two names. A teenage boy and girl came running, their eyes lighting up when they saw Saul. They ran up and hugged him.
“My goodness you two have grown.” Saul said as he squeezed the two children.
“How long are you staying?” Agnes asked.
“I’m not sure sweetie, we have work to do.”
“I hope you stay for awhile. I have so much to tell you.” Kitrinos said.
“Okay children, I am sure they would like to rest. I take it you stopped at Jepetto’s?” Saul nodded. “Go to Jepetto’s and get their things.”
“Yes sir.” The children said in unison and ran off.
“Follow me you three.” He grabbed a ring of keys and started upstairs. They walked down a hall and then up another flight of stairs. He unlocked one door and let Jarren in. There was already a fire going in the fireplace. “If you need anything just ask.” He headed down the hall to the room diagonal from Jarren’s and unlocked it. “I’ll have Agnes and Kitrinos bring dinner up to you three so please relax. The water still comes from the same hot spring so feel free to bathe.”
“There is one thing I must ask before you head back down. Have any foreigners come through town lately?”
“A few traders, the woman across the hall from you is the daughter of a Duke. She’s like your Dawn though, all pants and horseback riding. She’s here for the archery competition. Then there was a man, light skin and blue eyes. He did not say much about himself, only stopped here to eat and then moved on. The last time I saw him he was heading out of town toward the caves. I wanted to warn him, but he was incredibly fast for such a big man.”
“He’s the one we’re looking for.” Dawn said.
“Is he dangerous?” Ammos asked.
“Extremely. He’s a serial killer. I am glad he did not harm your family.” Saul said and Ammos went pale. “We will catch him Ammos do not worry.”
“Please be fast, I will have trouble sleeping with my wife and children so near a killer. If there’s anyway I can help please tell me. I will do anything to make sure my family is safe” Saul put a hand on his shoulder “I will let you know. Tell all your friends to be cautious but not to panic. My wife and I are very good. With her expertise at apprehended criminals and my knowledge of the land we will gather him and take him to the dungeon swiftly. If he even survives capture. The king and queen have given Dawn permission to kill him if it becomes necessary. With murderers and serial killers Dawn is always free to kill them if she can’t bring them in.”
“I have faith in you Dawn. You don’t seem like a woman who enjoys killing so I hope it doesn’t come to that, I wish you the best of luck”
“Thank you, we will chase him into the caves after breakfast in the morning.”
“I will make sure my children bring your food as fast as possible so you can get good rest. I hope to see you again in a happier time Saul”
“I promise to visit soon”
“Then I know you will, goodnight” They shut the door and soon the two teens were there with their luggage. They thanked them and took it then shut the door once more. They got into somthing comfortable to sleep in then laid on the bed together. “These are such wonderful people Saul. I’m so glad to have met them”
“we are all family. I do want to come more”
“Maybe after I lose my job we can live here”
“what do you mean?”
“Jarren will be king one day. He is very childish and selfish, I’m sure that goes without saying but I know when he takes rule he’ll take my position from me. The day he becomes king is the day I quit collecting bounties. I have no doubt he’ll have me removed and kicked out of my home on castle grounds the very day the crown is placed on his head.”
“Then why don’t we move to the border of our two lands. You love both places and our children would as well.”
She smiled and propped her head up. “How many children do you want?”
“At least two, but I would be happy with more.”
“I was thinking four or five.”
“That would make me extremely happy Dawn. So how about we move after the wedding? You can explain your reasons to them and your father, I know they will understand.”
“I almost hope they will choose someone more suitable to run the kingdom. With Jarren wearing the crown crime would skyrocket and I guarantee he’ll be calling me back in a month to sort out his mess.” She sighed and lay her head back down and stared at the ceiling. “What he needs is a tough woman like me to reign him in. He’s such a spoiled prince.”
“Ammos said that woman staying here is tough like you. I wonder if she’s single?”
“Already conspiring.” There was a tap on the door and Dawn got up to answer it. She moved aside to let Kitrinos and Agnes bring in their food. She thanked them and rewarded them with some spending money. They left excitedly with big smiles. Dawn and Saul ate the delicious stew Ammos’ wife had made. Dawn had never had anything like it. She was a little disappointed when she finally emptied her bowl and slowly drank the cup of apple cider that had been brought with it. “This food is the best. You should show me how to make this stuff.”
“I will when we get home where we have access to everything we need.” He smiled and kissed her, enjoying the taste of spiced apple cider on her soft lips.
She smiled against his lips “Do you want to just go to sleep so we can start early in the morning? I really don’t want any of these people hurt.” Saul kissed her again “You are such a¬†temptation but it would be a great loss to me if any of my people were murdered. We can make love after¬†Iban Stiltz is captured and in a dungeon where he belongs. Most likely he is laying wounded somewhere since he was foolish enough to go to the caves without someone who knows the land so hopefully things will be easy tomorrow morning. Do you think we can get the prince up without a fuss?”
“He wants to prove himself a man so he’ll get up. I’d rather not bring him but I know how wroth he will be if we don’t. Maybe we’ll get lucky and he’ll tell us to go alone” Saul kissed Dawns head “well lets get rest. If I stay up too much longer I wont be able to resist your beauty.” Dawn giggled and gave her fiance another kiss “goodnight Saul”
“Goodnight love” They put their dishes on a small table then cuddled up in bed. Their accomidations were so much more comfortable than their tents outside that they fell asleep within moments of relaxing. The two fell out hard but woke quickly when a knock sounded at their door. They were greeted by breakfast and smiles from¬†Kitrinos and Agnes “dad said you wanted to get started early. Should we wake the prince too?”
“No, I don’t want him to be mean to you two. Saul and I can do it.” The girls nodded and walked off. Saul and Dawn quickly ate breakfast and readied for their hunt.
They headed out and Dawn collided with another person. She and the other woman both grabbed each other to make sure neither of them fell. “I’m sorry I should have been paying attention.” The woman said and Dawn could help but admire her blue hair and pointed ears.
“Not at all, I should have been listening before I walked out. I’m Dawn.” She held out her hand.
“Estelise, nice to meet you.” She replied with a warm smile. “I was just about to get breakfast then head off to the tournament. Would you like to join me?”
“We’d love to, but we have a killer to catch after we wake our companion.”
“I guess I’ll see you around then.” She left and they headed down the hall. Dawn knocked on Jarren’s door and she could hear him getting up and walking across the room. He yanked the door open and glared at her.
“Time to go hunting. Get dressed and meet us downstairs.” She didn’t give him time to reply, just turned and walked away. Jarren slammed his door and pulled his clothes on. He was not happy with being ordered around. He stomped downstairs as he tucked his shirt in. “Ready?” Dawn asked. He just rolled his eyes.
“Now I do believe she asked if you were ready.” Estelise said from one of the tables. She stood and crossed the room and draped an arm over Dawn’s shoulders. “Don’t you think you should give her an answer instead of acting like a brat?”
“Who do you think you are? Do you have any idea who you are speaking to?” Jarren asked angrily.
“Nope and honestly I don’t care to know. Someone who doesn’t show respect doesn’t deserve it. Start living by that and maybe I’ll give you more of my time. If this one gives you anymore trouble Dawn then come and get me.”
“Thank you, I definitely will.”
Estelise left the inn for the competition, leaving Jarren standing there in shock and unable to think of anything to say. Dawn waved a hand in front of his face and he blinked a few times and shook his head. “That did just happen right?”
“Yes it did, now come on before our killer gets away.” He just followed them out of the inn, quiet as a mouse as he tried to process what had happened.
Dawn was happy that there was someone in the world that could actually shut that big mouth of his. She hoped to see more of Estelise. If the competition was still going when they got back she planned on draggin Saul and Jarren to it. “How are we traveling to the caves Saul?”
“walking, it isn’t too far and if we leave the horses alone when we enter the cave somthing may eat them. I’d feel very guilty and it’s not safe for the horses in the cave. If he’s too far in there we will get to a point they can’t travel”
“sounds good to me” Dawn said, Jarren was still too shocked to protest so Dawn and Saul locked hands and traveled down out into the desert again. As Saul said it wasn’t very long until they reached beautiful but forebodding caves. They were dark black aside from the purple and blue light that came from crystals in the cave. “these lights are stunning” Saul smiled “Yes they are, The crystals themselves make the light but only inside of caves. You can take them out and hold them in the dark anywhere but they will only glow inside caves they grew in” Jarrens barely saw the lights, his mind still on Estelise.
Saul stopped and whispered “did you hear that?” Dawn listened and nodded. They could hear footsteps that seemed not far ahead. Saul whispered in Dawns ear “Just because it sounds close doesn’t mean that it is. Sounds travels very easily here. Atleast the footstepssound human so it tells me that Iban is definitly still here” Dawn nodded, not wanting her voice to reach Ibans ears.
She waved her hands in front of Jarren’s face again and his eyes jumped to her face. She pressed her finger to her lips then pointed at the cave. He nodded in understanding and kept silent. They moved silently into the cave, keeping their eyes and ears open. Both Dawn and Saul knew how sneaky Iban could be so they kept Jarren in between them. He was not as good at fighting as they were and Iban would be able to sense that. Jarren would be his next victim if given the chance. The footsteps grew louder and they crouched as low as they could and pressed themselves against the cave wall.
Dawn could hear the Iban was limping. From what Saul had said these caves were extremely dangerous. The walking stopped and they froze. They knew he was listening. The walking started again and they moved forward. Dawn peeked around a corner and caught a glimpse of him. He disappeared down another tunnel. Dawn was suspicious and knew he was probably setting a trap. She gestured for both of them to get closer.
“I am going out there, you two wait.” She said very quietly, making sure to pitch her voice low so it wouldn’t travel. They nodded and she moved into the open where Iban had made camp. She couldn’t hear his footsteps anymore. She moved in a wide arc so she could look down the tunnel he had disappeared down. She headed into the tunnel opening and heard something snap beneath her feet. She heard a sliding sound and rolled back, the rope missing her ankle as Iban came rushing out of the tunnel. She drew her sword and blocked his dagger. He punched her in the jaw, sending her sprawling. She had never been hit so hard in her life.
Saul and Jarren came running to help her. Jarren may be upset with Dawn and didn’t like her very much right now but she was still someone he grew up with and he had to help her. Iban tried to stab Dawn but she surprised him by quickly rolling away and returning to her feet. Most women he punched like that weren’t so quick to move again. It was almost the second his eyes turned to Saul that Iban was now the one on the ground. Dawns eyes grew wide when she saw Jarren had come over too “Jarren! You’re too close. Go back where I left you.”
“I’m not doing that damnnit. I don’t like you right now but you’re still someone I grew up with. I wont sit over there like some pussy and let Iban hurt you” Jarrens face was serious and determined. Dawn could barely believe her ears. Maybe Jarren did have potential to be a better man. She put her focus back on what was going on. Saul and Iban were wrestling. Dawn saw that Saul got the dagger out of Ibans hand so she quickly retrieved it before Iban could grab it again. Dawn and Jarren stood there ready to help but knew at this moment there wasn’t much of a way they could assist. Suddenly Saul slammed Ibans heads into the cave floor, he slammed it so hard Ibans head was bleeding. “Cuff him Dawn” She quickly put the cuffs on him then Saul slammed his head a few more times until he passed out. Jarrens eyes grew wide. Saul noticed and said ” I was only knocking him out. He is still alive. We only kill them if it’s the only option.”
“What do we do with him now?”
“Take him back to my town. They have a small jail there where we can stuff him for the remainder of the day. We caught him early but I don’t want to travel again until tomorrow. We finished this fast enough to where there should be about half the archery competition left. Dawn wants to see it”
“fine by me” Jarren noticed that woman before had a bow and some arrows so he felt she might be at the competition. Saul drug Iban out of the cave and across the desert sands. Saul didn’t care atall the sand was mixing with Ibans blood. This criminal deserved no consideration after what he had done to so many people, how many family he stole a loved one from. They arrived at the jail and they laid him down in a cell. Saul told them that they needed to keep guards around the cell to be sure he doesn’t escape. They nodded and Saul said “Lets get back to our rooms before we head out so we can clean up.” Jarren wanted to go ahead and go but he noticed he was sweaty and wasn’t comfortable seeing that girl again this way. Dawns mouth was bleeding but she hadn’t noticed. They walked back to their Inn and were soon greeted by a worried looking Ammos “What happened to your face Dawn?”
“Iban got a really good punch in before my fiance tackled him and began to wrestle Iban into submission.”
“so you caught him?”
“He is in your jail” Ammos hugged the three “thank you so much. I will send lunch up to your rooms. I’m sure you want to be clean so I wont hold you any longer”
“Thank you Ammos” They all said and walked to their rooms. Saul hugged Dawn tightly when they were alone. It always seemed to really upset him when a criminal would hurt her. “I’m ok Saul, I’ve been doing this a long time.”
“It doesn’t get any easier to watch someone hurt you.”
“It mainly just surprised me Saul. I’m used to taking a punch” Saul kissed Dawn gently “Lets take a quick shower.” They took off their clothes and went into the bathroom. They showered together making it hard for Saul not to lift Dawn up and make passtionate love to her. He wasn’t used to go so long without sex. This was the first time they had brought somebody else along so they normally would make love in their tent at night. This still wasn’t the time though. Saul knew how heart wrenching it would be for Dawn if Jarren took away her postion when he became king. They had to go out today and hopefully get somthing started between him and another woman.
They got there and took their seats just as Estelise was taking her turn. She fired three shots, one right after the other right into the bullseye of her target. The crowd clapped and she bowed then moved aside for the next competitor. There were four others who tok their turns and only one who was as good as Estelise. Those who missed were disqualified so it was only Estelise and the man left. “Next we will need a volunteer for the last part of the comeptition.” An older man said to the crowd.
“We’ve got one right here Bacchas.” Saul called out and pulled Jarren to his feet.
“What are you doing?” Jarren asked.
“Just shut up and get out there, it’ll be fun. Just make sure to hold still.”
Jarren didn’t argue. It would give him a chance to be closer to the woman who had caught his eye. He was lead to one of the targets and told to stand perfectly still. An apple was placed on his head. He was told to hold his arms up, palms facing the sky and an apple was placed on each palm. Again he was told not to move. “Linden you first.” The old man said and a man of about thirty took his place across from Jarren. He let three arrows fly, hitting the two apples in his hands, but missing the one on his head by about three inches. Jarren swallowed nervously. “Estelise, please step up.” She took her place across from him and waited for two new apples to be placed in his hands. She smiled and winked then fired her arrows. She hit each apple dead center, leaving his heart beating overly fast. She walked over to him and kissed him on the cheek then winked again.
“You put a lot of trust in someone you irritated. Good job. I’m Estelise Beaupre.” She held out her hand and he took it.
“Uh Jarren Moynihan. Thank you for not missing. I thought for sure I was going to die when the other guy took his turn and congratulations on your win.”
“I never miss and thank you very much, now I must go congratulate my opponents and get my reward.”
“My companions were talking about watching some street performers, would you like to join us?”
“That sounds incredibly fun. I’ll find you after I get my reward” Jarren smiled, overjoyed she accepted the invitation. Jarren returned to Dawn and Saul with a smile “Estelise is coming with us to watch the dancers”
“good” Dawn said with a smile then Jarren spoke again “I’m sure she will want me to appologize to you so I’m sorry Dawn for how I’ve acted this trip. I’m glad I was able to come.”
“It’s not problem Jarren. I appreciate the apology”Jarrens attention went to Estelise and Dawn gave Saul a smile. He smiled back, glad this was already working. Estelise came back with a gold medal and Jarren introduced everybody. “Nice to meet you two again. What brought you guys here?”
“My husband..I mean fiance and I collect criminals that go on the run and bring them back to the castle. We’ve already collected our criminal and he’s in the prison here until we take him back to the queen and king. Jarren decided to accompany us this time.” Estelise looked impressed “wow, what exciting work. What relation are you to them Jarren?”
“I’m the prince, Dawns father served my parents as head knight so I’ve grown up with Dawn. Saul I’ve only just met on this journey.”
“I guess that’s why you need to learn manners. I’m going to whip you into shape” Estelise said with a playful smile but she was very serious about not letting him be rude because of his title.She was used to men who thought they could act anyway since she was the daughter of a duke. They started to follow Sauls lead and Estelise hooked her arm in Jarrens. He smiled and she decided to tease him “No need to wear that goofy grin just because I locked arms with you.” Jarren blushed and Dawn laughed. Saul wanted to laugh but managed not to.
“Saul walks as if he knows precisely where he’s going” Estelise pointed out. Dawn responded to her “He is from here. His father was born among these people but his mother was a foreigner which is why he doesn’t look like he’s from here.”
“Oh, I’m glad we’re with someone who actually knows where the sword dancers may be”
“I know exactly where they are. They always go to the same place.” Saul lead them through the city and down to the city center where a big fountain made to look like bellydancers was. It was incredibly beautiful. In front of the fountain was a circle of people and in the center a young man and Kitrinos. She saw them coming and waved excitedly. People turned and saw Saul and his companions and let them stand up front.
“I’m so glad you’re here.” Kitrinos said with a happy smile. “I was hoping to show you this when you got back.”
“Well show me.” She grinned and went to stand next to her partner. There were two other people at the edge of the cirlce with a tambourine and drum. They started playing and the two dancers moved in unison, twirling their swords as they spun in circles and did amazing acrobatic feats. Dawn was in awe of this beautiful performance and often wondered what Saul would look like with a sword when he was practicing in the morning.
“I have never seen something this amazing.”Jarren said. “I was definitely wrong about your people. They are beautiful.”
“Thank you, I appreciate you saying that. Not many foreigners get to see this side of our people. Most of them come here, stay in the rich places and never truly immerse themselves. They don’t realize how kind and amazing the people here truly are. Ammos would give you the shirt off his back. Jepetto would give you a horse without question. They are an amazing people.”
“Perhaps Kitrinos and her friends would like to travel and bring their culture to others. This is the first time I am seeing sword dancers myself. Do you think if I spoke to your friend about her traveling he would be okay with it?”
“Kitrinos is an adult, but he would apprciate you going over it with him. She is his daughter and he is very protective of her and Agnes.”
“I wouldn’t keep her away forever, a month or two at most.”
“Talk to Ammos, I can’t answer for him.” Dawn couldn’t help but smile at his now friendly disposition. She felt that he was genuinely being nice and hoped it would stay that way.
They enjoyed the show and clapped wth everyone when it was over. Kitrinos grabbed her partners hand and ran to Saul “were we good?”
“you were amazing. In fact Jarren here thinks you should travel and perform all over the lands. Hes serious about taking you but he is going to consult your father” Katrinos eyes were alit with pride. “I’m an adult but it is wise to ask my dad. He’s very protective but I’m sure Saul told you” Jarren smiled and introduced Estelise since Kitrinos didn’t know her. In return Kitrinos introduced her partner then they started back to the Inn so they could talk to Ammos about Kitrinos traveling. Aishwarya knew his parents wouldn’t mind so he would just be telling them he was going once Kitrinos convinced her father. They arrived at the Inn, all the while Kitrinos and Jarren talking excitedly of the rode and places he would take her. Estelise just enjoyed their chatter. Now finding Jarren to be sweet.
Ammos quickly came out to the sound of the small beel attached to the front door. “How was your performance?’
“It went amazing! In fact prince Jarren has somthing to ask you.” Ammos quit hugging his daughter and looked at Jarren who said “Your daughter has amazing talent. The world is at a great loss not seeing hers and Aishwaryas performance. I want to borrow her for no longer than two months, maybe only one to let her perform in many places so her talent can be seen far and wide. It may even earn your town more tourists which means more money for your people. I will make sure everyone knows where these two are from and as prince I can ensure she will be safe and well taken care of” Estelise interrupted. She wanted to get to know Jarren so wanted to come along in his travels. “I will also be there. You are very aware of how accurate my shot is. I will keep her safe. This will be an amazing opportunity for her Ammos”
Ammos frowned “I will miss you around here so much but if this is what you want then I will be happy for you. I know how you love to perform. All I ask is that you stay safe. Don’t go exploring areas alone unless someone who knows the land says its ok. If you can tell me you’ll be careful I can sleep without fear through the night” Kitrinos hugged her father “I promise not to be reckless dad” Ammos called for Agnes and his wife. They both came quickly and he explained what had just been decided. They both hugged Kitrinos and wished her luck. Tikaini looked even sadder than Ammos at the thought of Kitrinos leaving.
“We’ll leave tomorrow morning so you and Aishwaryas should pack.” Saul said.
Aishwaryas told them he would be back tonight and left. Kitrinos ran happily up to her room and started throwing everything she would need in a bag. She had never travelled from the village before so was very excited. Tikaini said she would make everyone dinner and Dawn offered to help. She wanted to learn a little bit about their style of cooking. They used a lot of spices she had never seen or tasted before and wanted to get a list of things she would need for Saul to show her how to cook them.
Saul chatted with Ammos about how long it would take them to get back to the castle and that Kitrinos would have a room there until Jarren left. He also promised to have her write as soon as they arrived. Jarren sat down next to Estelise, unsure of how to act. Dealing with strong willed women wasn’t one of his strong points. Dawn had often left him flustered and now he wasn’t sure what to say or do around Estelise. He didn’t want to disappoint her again.
“So where are you from?” He finally asked.
“Across the ocean. My people are a coastal breed. Some say our ancestors were mermaids and that’s why we have blue hair and pointy ears. The city I live in is called Polijevati, it’s very beautiful and refelcts the ocean in every way.”
“That sounds wonderful. I’ve crossed the ocean, but I’ve never been to your homeland. I bet it’s extremely beautiful.”
“Like me you mean? That is what you wanted to say right?”
Estelise giggled “No need to be ashamed to say I’m beautiful. I think you’re handsome. I look forward to traveling with you and getting to know you. Are you happy I invited myself?” Jarren nodded, his face still red. Estelise gave him another kiss on the cheek. Aishwarya came in about halfway through dinner and quickly ate some. Ammos guided him to a room while everybody else retreated into their own rooms. Dawn excitedly put the spices Tikaini gave her. “why do you look so happy?” Saul asked. “because, Tikaini gave me a bunch of spices and wrote down recipes so I can make you dishes from their culture. You’ll have to teach me even more at home. I love their food.” Saul smiled then crossed over to her. He began removing her clothing making Dawn smile. “I was wondering when you’d start getting impatient.” Saul bit her shoulder then let his tongue slide up to her ear “it’s been too long. I need to explore your body and feel that tight, clenching warmth between your legs.”
Saul pushed Dawn onto the floor. Not having the patience to go over to the bed.Dawn giggled “wow, you really are needy” Without a word Sauls hand traveled her skin until he had his fingers on her most sensitive spot. They took on an intense, teasing motion as his tongue began it’s travel around her again. He left hickeys all over her breasts, shoulders, stomach and sides until she was begging for him. He kissed her as he thrust inside of her. His pace was fast and hard due to how much he had been hungering to be with her this way. Dawn couldn’t contain the loud moans that filled the room. She hadn’t realized Saul was this sexually frustrated.
When he ejaculated he didn’t stop, his shaft was still hard as a rock and hungry for more so he just kept thrusting until he came a second time. Each were gasping for air as he picked her up and placed Dawn under the covers. He kissed her head “I love you baby”
“I love you too Saul, that was amazing. I should make you wait days more often” saul chuckled “please don’t”
“I didn’t realize you wanted me so badly”
“You’re a very alluring woman. It just wasn’t the time so I controlled myself”
“Thank you for being patient. Iban really lead us on a chase.” She snuggled close and rested her head on his chest.
“How does your face feel?”
“A little bruised, does it look bad?”
“No, there seems to be a faint bruise, but it’s not horrible. You really know how to take a punch love.” She laughed softly and kissed his chest.
“You wonderful, sexy man. What did I ever do to deserve you?”
“You chased me, I mean doesn’t that mean you really like me.”
She giggled and then let out a long sigh of content. “Goodnight, love you, see you in the morning.”
“Goodnight, love you, see you in the morning.” They fell quickly asleep and woke the next morning to a soft tapping on their door. They quickly dressed and Saul pulled the door open. It was Agnes. “Well good morning little princess.”
“Good morning Saul, mom said breakfast is ready.”
“We’ll be right down.”
Agnes skipped happily away and they made sure they had everything packed before carrying their bags downstairs. They were greeted with smiles, even from Jarren. “I have taken the liberty of securing a cart for you. Jepetto told me you had a mule and I figured one cart full of things would beeasier to pull than having to worry about making sure everything is strapped down.” Ammos said.
“Thank you my friend, it is much appreciated. I was wondering if perhaps you could send Agnes and Kitrinos on an errand for me. I wanted to but some material to have a dress made for Dawn, but I never had the chance. Could you send the girls to pick out something as green as her eyes and then some the same color as her hair?”
“Of course. After breakfast you two head out and tell them it’s for Saul.”
“Yes sir.” The girls said in unison.
The girls ran off after breakfast and soon returned with the material that was asked of them. “Feel it” Saul said in an asking tone to Dawn. Kitrinos lifted it up and Dawn took it “wow, this will make an amazing and very comfortable dress” Saul kissed her cheek “I’m glad. I want to have one made for you as quickly as possible once we return. For now though let Ammos,¬†Aishwarya and I get our bags in the cart and the criminal. Tikaini handed Saul a small bag of powder. “put this in everything he drinks and he will stay sleeping the whole journey. I stayed up through the night to make much more than you need. I wont have my daughter traveling with a consious killer. You make sure he’s well doced Saul”
“I will Tikaini, thank you. This will make the trip back easier.”
“My daughter knows how to make it. Please teach Dawn when you get to the castle so it’s easier on them to bring fugitives back to the dungeon.”
“I will mom” Kitrinos said as she hugged her parents and sister once last time. Kitrinos and Agnes hugged the longest. Agnes had never been away from her sister longer than a day so it was heart breaking for them both but they knew as all sisters they would have to set out on their lives eventually. The men loaded everything and made Iban drink water with the powder in it. They started out the second Iban was sleeping. Even Dawn who had only just met these people was sad about leaving. She took comfort in the fact they were welcome back anytime and would be living closer so it wouldn’t be such a big trip to see everybody.
“when will we have to give Iban more Kitrinos?” Saul asked “just everytime he wakes up. It depends on the person how long it lasts. Mom sent me a few bottles to store water in.”
“good, I don’t want him awake any more than she does. He’s a monster”
They rode across the hot sand, listening to Kitrinos and¬†Aishwarya talk about new lands and what they would be like. Both of them had spent their whole lives in the desert. Dawn and Saul smiled at their excitement and hoped they would enjoy the forest. Jarren rode close to Estelise, admiring her beautiful face as she told stories about her homeland. He loved how fond she sounded of the ocean. He found himself wanting to get out more. It embarrassed him that he was so weak. She seemed to enjoy the outdoors and he wanted to spend as much time with her as possible.
Iban started to come to as the reached the first oasis and was immediately drugged again. They didn’t give him time to become fully conscious. They rested next to the pool of water, rinsing the sweat from their skin and wetting their hair. Jarren found himself staring at Estelise and she smiled when she noticed, making him blush and look away. He had never felt this way before. He had ogled Dawn without remorse and now found himself feeling guilty about it.
“Dawn, can I talk to you alone?” He asked.
“Sure, we’ll be back.” She followed him off into the trees and rubbed the back of his neck nervously. “Did something happen Jarren?”
“About the stuff between me and you, I just wanted to say I’m sorry for being such a jerk. I don’t want Estelise to find out that I was a bad person. I mean she already knows I’m a spoiled brat, but I want to change that. I figure asking for your forgiveness is the best first step. Do you forgive me?”
“Of course I do. Look, the way I see it as long as you’re making an effort to change then the past is the past and that’s it.”
“Thank you. Also, could you maybe take me out camping some more? I want to get used to being outside like you and Saul because Estelise likes the outdoors.”
“Sure, after Kitrinos and Aishwarya’s trip. The four of us can go camping together. Now get back out there and stop worrying and know that if you get out of hand she’ll reprimand you like I do.”
Not long after Dawn & Jarrens chat they resumed their journey across the desert. Since they were such a large group all the demons and monsters didn’t pester them for the rest of the journey across the desert. It was all just happy chatter and continuously drugging Iban so he couldn’t cause trouble. The first night they were in the forrest Estelise easily shot and killed a turkey for them to cook and eat. Even Dawn was impressed with her ease and perfect aim with her arrows. Saul and Kitrinos prepared the turkey and they all had a heavy and satisfying meal. “Thank you” everybody said. “no problem, I got to eat too”
Estelise made sure they were well fed until the large and very beautiful castle appeared in the distance. Kitrinose and¬†Aishwarya looked absolutely awe-struck. Their eyes wide and mouths partially open. “I take it you wont mind staying here a night so we can prepare to take you two traveling.”
“are you and Dawn coming Saul?”
“No, it will be just you two, Jarren and Estelise but I know you’ll have fun”
“I know we will too.” Saul took Iban straight to the dungeon while everyone else went to the king and queens thrown room. They were most often in there so it’s where Dawn would check first to inform them they had collected the fugitive. Dawn gave a gentle wrap at the door and she was called to enter. Dawn was pleased to see her father was at the kings side. He ran over adn hugged Dawn “welcome home! Who have you brought?” Amrh asked as he pulled back. “Estelise, Aishwarya, and Kitrinos. The prince saw Aishwarya and Kitrinos perform their sword dance and thought it so amazing that he wants to travel with them across the lands so that all the people can see their performance. Jarren and Estelise plan to leave with them in the morning.”
“Could we see?” The queen asked. “It would be an honor” Kitrinos said as she bowed. Aishwarya smiled and bowed right after Kitrinos did. Kitrinos and Aishwarya walked up so they were standing in front of the King, Queen and their Head Knight. Estelise, Jarren, Saul & Dawn moved to the sides so the two performers would have plenty of room. The three of them were also impressed. The king spoke “That’s a very good idea son. Our people should see such an astounding performance. Make sure you take plenty of money so you can afford the best accommodations for these two. I hope you’ll come back often and perform for my wife and I” Kitrinos and Aishwarya were bursting with pride.
Dawn cleared her throat “I have somthing I need to tell you” Dawn said as she looked at the king. “Yes?”
“I want to move off castle grounds so I can live closer to the desert. My husbands heritage and the people he loves are in the desert so I want to live closer to it. I am grateful for all the years I’ve lived in such luxury and I will continue working. It will just take a little longer to get me I suppose.”
“If that is what you wish i will have men build you a house wherever you specify. No one has ever served us like you and your father have. If all of our Knights were like you two the kingdom would be a much better place. We will make sure a very nice house and stable is built. An important question though is how many children are you planning to have? I want to make sure you have enough rooms.”
“We were thinking four or five”
“I will make sure there are seven rooms then. You need your own room and a guest room”
“Thank you so much”
“Thank you for your diligent service. If that is all lets go have dinner. The queen and I skipped lunch today and are starving. I believe Amrh skipped lunch too, am I correct?”
“Yes sir” With that they all stood and walked into the dining hall where they were quickly served. Wen Saul was done eating he found a seamstress and gave her the materials to make Dawn a dress. The seamstress seamed excited and quickly bounded off. Kitrinos and Aishwarya were again blown away when they were given rooms. Everything was so beautiful, the carpets and bedding was so soft and luxurious that they just couldn’t believe their senses.
Dawn was invited to stay in the castle for the night and she did not object. She excused herself and Saul did the same, following her up to one of the rooms. She flopped down on the bed and yawned. It was so comfortable that she started to immediately drift off. She jerked her eyes back open when she felt Saul kissing her and wrapped her arms around his neck. He pulled back and brushed his knuckles over her cheek.
“You look so tired.” He said softly.
“I am, we should take a bath and go to bed.”
“Okay love.” He lifted her and carried her into the bathroom, undressing both of them and unable to keep his hands from traveling over her warm skin.
“That feels good.” He ran his hands up her back to her shoulders, massaging her muscles. He kissed her shoulder then made a hot bath. He lifted her and stepped into the tub, moving her so she sat between his legs. She relaxed against him, to tired to care whether she got clean or not. He washed the sweat and sand from her hair and skin, his gentle touch making her feel calm and relaxed. She started to drift off and he gently shook her. She turned her head and smiled sleepily up at him.
“Come on baby, lets get in bed.” They got out and he drained the tub before grabbing a towel and drying them both. She yawned and he lifted her, carrying her to bed and getting with her under the covers. He stroked her hair and kissed her forehead. She fell asleep immediately and he smiled down at her. She was absolutely adorable for such a tough woman.
Saul kissed her cheek then held her as he fell asleep himself. The King and Queen got people working on their home the following morning. Saul was planning on joing the build after he saw Kitrinos and Aishwarya off. Everyone exchanged hugs and amde sure all was pakced. Jarren, Estelise, Aishwarya and Kitrinos left right after breakfast. “Jarren seems different” The queen said in almost a shocked tone. “he is” Dawn replied. The king smiled “no doubt that girl is who is changing him for the better?”
“Good, maybe now we can trust him with the castle”
“you weren’t going to?” Dawn asked in surprise “good lord no” The king said as if he too were shocked Dawn would think such a thing. Saul looked confused “who were you going to give it to then?”
“we were considering his cousin Gareth”
“he would have been a nice choice. I was terrified thinking of the kingdom once you two stepped down”
“Please, we would never be so foolish. If he continues to better himself for that lovely young lady he can rule though. We shall inform Gareths dad that Jarren may rule after all” The queen nodded and they walked away. “I want to help build our home”
“I’ll help too”
“You are exhausted Dawn, the desert heat drained you because you aren’t accustomed to it like I am”
“I want to help and you know you can’t stop me.” Saul sighed “well then come.” Dawn kissed his cheek “I love you”
“I love you too” They spent the next days laughing and chatting with the men and women who were working on their home. Dawn and Saul were bursting with excitement thinking of the family that woud fill this home and being able to frequent the place Saul grew up. Dawn even looked forward to getting to know the new Jarren, the Jarren who had someone to make him want to be a better man. She now didn’t have to fear for her job and could just enjoy the blissful life she had with Saul.
~ The End ~