Breena and Zaylee were out running wild again in their beautiful world. They still spent a majority of their time together when their husbands were busy. Arrow being captain of the guard and Emeril being a guardsman. It truly didn’t matter how many decades passed the two women felt just as much joy getting lost in nature and going on adventures together. Zaylee was still touched every time she thought of the huge celebration dinner they had at the castle to celebrate her and Arrow being together eighty years. Breena had gotten up to toast them saying how lucky she and her father were that Zaylee stumbled into their lives. In meeting Zaylee her father had found love again and she had found a best friend. She had gone on about all the miniature heart attacks they both had given their husbands while they were having fun and told everyone they felt bad but they wouldn’t change one memory and planned on scareing Arrow and Emeril many times in the future.”
Yesterday they had warned their spouses that they wouldn’t be back for a few days. Someone had told them of a new beast they had seen and both women were far too curious not to check it out. It was a long journey to get to the area though. The two sat down to rest among a field of flowers and soon heard Osius calling them “Mom! Breena!” They looked his way, staring at him as he caught his breath “You two got far fast”
“Whats up little brother?” Breena asked. “Dad, Emeril and I decided I should go with you two since you’re making this adventure a long trip” Zaylee stood and hugged her son. She was glad to have him here. He didn’t come on these things because he had grown to be his fathers clone. Serious in every way, most times he was helping the king and queen with diplomatic matters. He had basically become for Aideen and Emery what Arrow had been for King Drake. It was very suiting and she knew how proud Arrow was of his son. “Have you two eaten?”
“we ate at lunch yesterday” Osius sighed and his mother laughed “lighten up, we were just having too much fun to be hungry”
“I’m going to get us all somthing to eat” Osius said then walked off. “Not a mini Arrow at all” Breena said sarcastically and Zaylee giggled again “You know they just love us”
“Yeah, it’s just funny how he is so much like dad. I could swear you two actually cloned him and faked your pregnancy”
“I dont think anybody can fake the kind of morning sickness I had”
“True” Osius was glad he had managed to track his mother and sister down. He knew how wreckless those two were in the name of fun and he had just gotten far too worried. He had gone to Aideen and asked for some time off to follow them then went to his dad and Emeril to let them know they wouldn’t be alone. The two had been relievedand reminded him of certain tips to track the two more easily. He soon found an animal, killed it, thanked mother nature for the meal then cleaned it before taking it back to Zaylee and Breena.
“You know, you could always get married so you wouldn’t have to worry about us all the time.” Breena teased.
He grunted as he skinned the animal. “Then I’d just have more to worry about.”
“Calm down dad jr. I was just messing with you.”
“Build me a fire.” He replied and Breena rolled her eyes while Zaylee just laughed. Once he had the meat on he said, “I’m going to go get clean, you two stay out of trouble.”
“What fun is that sweetie?” Zaylee said. “Even your father knows that my capacity for finding trouble is pretty astounding.”
“Mom, for me?”
“Alright, we’ll stay right here, I promise.”
Osius cleaned himself in the nearest river. He knew asking them to behave was a request they just couldn’t fill but in the end he wouldn’t have his mother any other way. She was loving and his childhood had been a lot of fun at her side. He wouldn’t change Breena either, wild was a big part of who they were and they were both amazing women. Stressful women, but amazing all the same. He returned and ate with them. Over dinner they told him about their fun so far, loving the times his eyes would get wife. They were a half a day from where they were going when a pack of saber tooth tigers surrounded them. Osius knew his mother and sister could handle themselves amazingly so he began to fight them. They were being aggressive and showed no signs of ability to listen to reason so fighting was the only answer.
One jumped on his mothers back and for the first time trying to fight anything he was afraid. It was almost as soon as it jumped on her an arrow seemed to fly from nowhere, landing a killing blow. The tiger fell off of her but its claws had already done damage to Zaylee. More arrows came, obviously to aid them so Osius and Breena would worry who was shooting them when this was settled. The last two ran away and they let them. Elves always only killed animals if they had to.
They now realized it was a woman because she gracefully jumped down out of the tree she had been in to help Zaylee “I don’t live far. Please, let me tend to her in my home” Out of habit he examined her. She was a beautiful woman with purple eyes and hair that fell to her hips. He loved the color, bright red. He actually blushed and cleared his throat before lifting his mother “we will follow you. Thank you for your help”
“don’t mention it” She took off and they followed. Osius tried to carry his mother without causing her more pain but it was hard to run and be careful with the wounds on her back. He knew her father could feel them and he felt ashamed. His father knew he had already failed to protect her. He was not looking forward to facing him because Osius knew his father would be showing up at anytime due to the pain his mother was in.
“Please get that look off your face sweetie.” Zaylee said as she patted Osius’s cheek.
“Dad is going to be pissed. I should have been better, I’m supposed to take care of you and Breena.”
“You did baby, we’re alive, that’s all that matters.” It was times like this that he was very much her little boy again.
Osius was relieved when they made it to their destination they were hurried inside and he was directed to set his mother on the kitchen table. Zaylee let out a little his of pain and Osius quickly apologized. “Let me have a look.” Breena said as she gently raised Zaylee’s shirt to get a better look at the wounds.
“Here.” The woman came back with a bowl of warm water and a rag.
“We didn’t catch your name.” Zaylee said then winced when Breena started cleaning the blood away.
“Sorry, I’m Eveny. You might know my son Gaspard.”
“I do.” Osius replied and felt heat creeping up his neck when she turned her eyes on him.
“Is he doing well, is he being good?”
“Uh, yes to both.”
She smiled and his heart slightly sped up “I’m glad, He really likes everyone. When he comes to visit he mostly just talks about the men he serves with and his superiors. You look so much like Arrow I figured you must be Osius once I was close to you” Breena grinned knowingly at her brothers nervousness. Him being nervous meant he liked her, it was the only time she ever saw her father or brother nervous about anything. “He’s talked about me?” Osius was hoping he had said good things. He couldn’t remember slighting anybody in the guard but he knew he wasn’t everyones buddy or anything. “with you not a ton. I bring my son and his friends in the guard lunch from time to time. I get in these crazy cooking moods and with it just being me I need someone to help me eat what I make when I get out of hand. One of the times I brought some food Arrow was talking to him so we got acquainted. Gaspard said you looked like your father and he wasn’t kidding. It’s very nice to meet you and..”
“My mother is the one who is injured and my sister is the one washing her”
“and your names are?”
“I’m Breena, our mom is Zaylee. It’s common to say peoples names in introductions Osius” Breena teased.
Osius glared at her. “I think I’ll go wait for dad.” His eyes softened when he turned them back to Eveny. “Thank you so much for everything.”
“Of course.” Eveny felt her heart skip a beat.
“If you need me, I’ll be just outside.” He turned and left, gently closing her door.
“How does he know Arrow will just show up?”
“Arrow is Arrow, he just will. He’s smart, probably knows your home is close to where we were.”
“Osius certainly was stumbling over himself.” Breena said and Zaylee laughed even though it hurt.
“He really is your father through and through.”
Osius sat in the grass in front of the house, half of his mind busy thinking of what he was going to say to his father while the other half was occupied with Eveny. He didn’t think he had ever met a woman so gorgeous. His sister was right in teasing him, he was acting the fool in front of her.
Eveny helped Breena with Zaylee until Breena said “I have it from here. Thank you so much, my magic alone couldn’t have dealt with this. I’m so glad you saw us.”
“Me too, I’ll make us somthing to eat. If Arrows been coming since this happened the soonest he’ll be here is an hour. I’ve made the journey many times. I’m sure you know my son stays in the barracks”
“Before you walk out, that painting, one is obviously Gaspard and the woman is you, who are the rest?”
“My late husband and my other son, he stayed behind in the kingdom he was born. I miss him but I understand him staying behind. He had a life there and a girlfriend. He comes here once a year and I go just when I get the urge. His name is Rehan” Breena felt like more questions would be rude at the moment so she let Eveny walk out. Her brother was obviously very attracted to her and that made Breena more curious than she would be about just anyone. She didn’t doubt this woman was good, she just wanted to learn everything she could about her brothers potential mate.
Breena looked down at her sleeping mother and smiled, she still had to be in pain though the wounds were already mostly closed. Breena was sure she could finish this at the latest tomorrow morning. The saber tooth tigers here had longer and sharper claws than anywhere else so her wounds had run deep and had damaged quite a bit. Without Evenys aide even Breena would have been concerned. She was grateful her step mother could be sleeping peacefully instead of out in the wild hurting with healing magic alone to help her.
“You shouldn’t be so mad at yourself.” Eveny’s gentle voice had Osius reaching for his sword.
“Sorry,” he said as he dropped his hand, “habit and I should have heard you.”
“It’s because you’re upset.” She rubbed his back and his heart jumped.
“You don’t have to baby me Eveny, I messed up.”
She blushed. “Sorry, I wasn’t trying to.”
He sighed. “No, I’m sorry for being so ill tempered. I never want to let my family down.”
“I think your father will be relived, not angry. He loves you and your mother and sister, I’m sure he’ll just be glad no one died and that you were there. It could have been a lot worse.”
“If you hadn’t been there. You saved us and I can never thank you enough.”
She gave him a reassuring smile “We were a team, I simply helped fellow elves I saw valiantly fighting. The one that jumped on your mother wasn’t a part of the original group that came. The ones here run with incredible speed. You three were occupied already with what you started with. It wasn’t a mistake on any of your parts your mother got hurt. Somtimes even when you do everything right things happen”
“well if you knew my dad well you know he’d never let my mom get hurt. He seems to be able to do and handle anything.” He blushed and she still held her smile “I think all men see their dads as gods. I’m sure even he has failed at things before or let somthing surprise him” His blushing intensified but she didn’t say anything about it. “Why don’t you help me with dinner while we wait on your father?”
“Okay” Osius walked back inside with Eveny and into her kitchen. Arrow came to a halt when he saw his wifes blood. He cursed under his breath, scared for her and his children. The three people he could never bare to lose were all together and he knew at minimum his wife had been severely hurt. He knew she was alive but that was about all he could tell. He saw arrows that didn’t belong to his family, they looked different so he picked one up to inspect it. They looked like Gaspard’s arrows but he knew he was in the baracks. He paused afew moments then remembered his mother lived this way. “She must have helped them” he said out loud, working things out with himself. He felt some relief and started running in the direction he was pretty sure she lived.
He pounded on the door when he arrived. He was too worried to knock calmly. If they weren’t actually there he needed to get back to looking. Breena answered “dad you’ll wake mom” He pulled her into a crushingly tight hug then started looking her over “Only mom was hurt but she’ll be okay. Between Eveny and I we mended her wounds”
“I need to thank her for helping you guys. Where is she?” Eveny got up from the table where they had been just finishing dinner “Arrow?” Breena let him in and he gave her a small bow “thank you, I saw your arrows on the ground where my wifes blood was. These three are my everything, what you’ve done can’t be repaid.” She laughed “Arrow it’s fine, I was there and I offered assistance when I saw they needed it. All three of them are very skilled and good house guests. Come eat, there’s plenty left. You know I cook too much”
“I need to check on my wife first. I can’t sit until I’ve seen her”
Osius waited patiently for his father and when he came back looking relieved he started to apologize, but Arrow hugged him. “Dad I…”
“Are you alright?” He pulled back to look at his son.
“This isn’t the time for that, you’re not a knight right now you’re my son. Are you alright?”
“I failed, I froze.”
He looked away and Arrow tussled his hair, making him feel embarrassed. “Don’t say stupid things like that or I’ll have you running laps. All of us get afraid sometimes. How do you think I felt when I saw your mother’s blood? Being scared does not make you less courageous.” He patted his son’s back. “Thank you for going with them, it could have been much worse if you had not been there.”
Osius could see his dad wasn’t upset at him and it relieved some of his guilt. He still however hated he couldn’t keep his mother from harm. He didn’t want to know what might have happened if Eveny hadn’t helped. At the dinner table Arrow asked “How did you come upon my family?”
“I wasn’t doing anything in particular. I was going stir crazy and decided to go enjoy the the kingdom. I was walking by a tree near where they ended up and a memory started going through my head of my boys and I seeing who could climb the fastest. We did that so much when they were growing up. Somtimes I really miss having children”
“I know, Arrow and I are trying again” Zaylee said as she came in. “Zaylee! What are you doing up?!” Breena said in a near panicked voice. Zaylee smiled at her daughter “Breena, don’t be like your father and brother. You know I’m okay. I just have to be careful”
“Mom, you don’t know the meaning” Arrow got up “I must have stirred you when I kissed your cheek. I’m sorry love”
“No no, I’m so happy you’re here” She hugged him and as much as he wanted to hug her tight he was gentle. He brought her over to the table and sat her in his lap. “but yeah, Osius over there is in his seventies. It’s been far too long since I’ve had a little one. How old are your boys?”
“Rehan is in his thirties and Gaspard just turned twenty seven”
“Still so young.”
“Gaspard is quite the knight though, smart, strong, confident in his abilities.”
“I can see where he got his gift with the bow.” Osius added and felt immediate embarrassment.
“Thank you, he picked it up so fast I barely had to teach him a thing.” Her smile had his heart beating unreasonably fast.
Arrow looked between his son and Eveny, knowing the look on his face well. He had been told many times that was the way he looked at Zaylee. He cleared his throat and Osius blushed. “Osius is strongest with a sword, but he’s become quite proficient with a bow as well as hand to hand. If Gaspard would like he and Osius can start patrolling together. My son knows the lay of the land just as good as I do.”
“I’m sure he’d love that.”
They all talked, staying through the next day then invited Eveny to join them because they still wanted to see the new creature that had appeared in their land. Arrow kept Zaylee close which she found endearing. The years had done nothing but strengthen their love for eachother. She spoke “You should have brought Breena’s husband. Where is he?”
“I panicked when I felt the amount of pain you were in. He probably hasn’t noticed. He’s been busy with a couple of teenagers who are temporarily in the guard to straighten them out.” Breena chimed in as her father finished speaking “Yeah, I’ve felt bad. He’s told me how horrible they are”
“it’s a good program. When we let them quit they’ll be decent members of society. Though as you know some decide to stay on once we get their heads out of their asses. I’ve had your husband on them the most because he’s honestly the best at working with them. They listen to him better than anyone else in the guard”
“What do you mostly do Osius?” Eveny asked him.
“Oh, uh I patrol and help my dad when he needs it. It’s usually with training new recruits. I also work with the king and queen.”
“At some point I am hoping to retire and he will be taking my place.” Arrow said proudly.
“Our family has been serving for a long time.” Osius was just as proud.
“It’s so funny how much like your father you are. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a perfect doppleganger.”
Breena laughed. “Right, same face, same attitude, same posture.”
“Sometimes I tell Arrow I’m surprised he’s able to relax. His posture is always so perfect when he’s working.” Zaylee teased and Arrow gave her a gentle kiss on the cheek.
“It’s easy when I’m with you. I have to stay vigilant when I’m working.”
“And what’s your excuse now?”
“Keeping you safe.”
She giggled and they all continued talking, bonding with one another as they traveled. Everyone liked Eveny and hoped she would return Osius’s feelings. It seemed like it but Zaylee didn’t know if she was just being hopeful. Arrow was the same, he knew from Gaspard his mother was single due to his father dyeing. It had been eight years but there was no telling if her heart was ready. People healed at different rates. Her son thought she was fine and happy though so if anybody knew it would probably be one of her kids.
They arrived to see the beautiful, massive creature. ‘wow” Breena said and Zaylee added “it’s so beautiful. I can’t tell what it’s skin is made out of. It looks hard, but not like a shell, like its made out of some sort of geodes.” They marveled up at its beauty, all except Osius who was stealing glances at Eveny. That night he asked her “would you go on a walk with me?”
“sure” She had been sitting with Breena so he helped her up and the two walked off into the night.
Osius stole glances at Eveny as they walked, taking in little details every time his eyes found her. He found himself wanting to take her hand, but pulled his own behind his back instead. “It’s nice tonight.” He said and rolled his eyes at himself.
“It’s warm and the sky is so clear.” She replied and smiled at him. Her own heart danced when their eyes met. “The stars are really beautiful, don’t you think?”
They both blushed and he cleared his throat as he reached over and grabbed her hand, pulling her to a stop. “Is everything alright?”
“I think I like you.” His face was burning and she gave his hand a little squeeze, obviously seeing his nervousness. “If you don’t feel the same, it’s okay, I understand.”
“I like you too.”
She nodded. “It’s just been awhile, after my husband I…”
“I don’t want to replace him by any means.” He interrupted. “Sorry, I just needed to tell you before I explode. I’m so nervous, it has me a little out of sorts.” He stroked her cheek. “You’re so beautiful.”
She smiled and held his hand to her face “and you’re very handsome Osius. I just ahven’t dated in some time so I’m nervous about being someones girlfriend again..are you…well…you don’t have kids…I mean mine are adults but you’re fine with that?” He almost laughed “Your son is a good man. I like him and I m very attached to you already. I’ll even meet your other son when you feel comfortable. I just want to be with you. I don’t care how fast or slow we are. If you’re mine I’ll be happy, hell I’ll be lucky. Eveny kissed his cheek “You are the sweetest. Okay, I’d like to be with you too Osius”
He kissed her cheek, not knowing if she was ready for more than that. He slowly pulled Eveny into him to hold her. The two just stood there, absorbing eachothers warmth. When they let eachother go it was only so they wouldn’t worry everyone else by being gone so long. They walked back into their sleeping area holding hands but nobody saw because everyone was sound asleep. “can I sleep by you?” Osius asked shyly and she said “Only if you’ll hold my hand as we lay down”
Osius was excited and nervous as he found a comfortable spot. He wanted her close and gently pulled her down so her head rested on his chest. He took her hand and held it over his heart, letting his thumb brush her knuckles. Both of them were warm from head to toe and soon fell asleep. Osius woke the next day to movement and was relieved to see it was only his father. Arrow was an early riser out of habit and already had a fire going to combat the chilly morning. Arrow glanced at him, a smile playing at his lips over his son being with Eveny.
“Go back to sleep son, it’s still early.” He said under his breath. “I’ll wake everyone when it’s time to get up.”
He was glad his dad didn’t say anything. He didn’t want to wake Eveny in his embarrassment and he wasn’t sure if he could handle acting like more of an idiot in front of her. He let out a soft sigh and slowly tightened his hold on her as he closed his eyes and drifted back to sleep.
He got about as much teasing as he expected from his sister and mother on their way home and it wasn’t long after their return Eveny told her son about Osius. He hugged her, seeming happy “That’s good to hear mom. You’ve come so far since dad died. I honestly don’t know what was harder when he died, his loss or how broken Rehan and I saw you become. Watching and hearing you cry so much and how empty you were about destroyed us both. I just want you to be happy. Moving away from our old kingdom I think was the best thing you could have ever done for yourself mom. Osius is a good guy and if he treats you anywhere near how I see his dad treat his wife then I know you’re going to stay happy with him”
“do you like going on patrols with him?”
“Yeah, is he going to live with you?”
“Not yet but maybe soon.”
“Take your time mom.”
“I’m so lucky to have such a sweet son”
“well you were and are a good mom. I’m going to come over tonight and stay a few days. I need to use some of my vacation. You should invite Osius so I can get to know him outside of us on the job”
“That sounds good. I’ll get home then” They hugged one more time and she excitedly found Osius who seemed a bit nervous. She assured him it was all going to go well then hurried off for home so she could have a nice dinner prepared when the two men arrived. She had moved on from her husbands death but finally dating again was going to be hard. She was just glad a man as wonderful as Osius was willing to be patient and supporting. He already meant so much to her and Eveny was happy her son was accepting of him.
~ The End