Gildhardt watched Feran as he washed the sweat and blood of the day from his skin. Their relationship had started with them trying to kill each other. Being on opposite sides of a war would do that. He had caught Feran in this place, doing the exact same thing. He had believed the young blonde was defenseless and thought to humiliate and then slay him, but his enemy had known how to charm him. Even now Gildhardt chuckled at how easily he had been distracted.
“What’s so funny?” Feran asked as he stepped out of the water.
Feran snorted. “Women disagree. They often tell me how gorgeous and charming I am. They like my battle scars.”
Gildhardt huffed out a laugh as he stood and started pulling off his boots. “Sleeping with a bunch of them are we?”
“Oh yes, dozens.” Gildhardt rolled his eyes. “Oh don’t start, you know I have eyes only for you.”
“I noticed, you nearly gutted me today.”
“Nonsense, it was just a scratch, go get clean then spend time with me before I have to g back.”
Gildhardt thought he sounded tired and he couldn’t blame him. This sneaking around was exhausting, but it was either that or face execution, not that Feran seemed to care, he had actually made his way into their encampment a couple of times, something that surprised Gildhardt. He sighed as he tossed his clothes aside and stepped into the water, hoping this would all work out.
Feran kissed him as he got close. In response Gildhardt held him close, this war was ridiculous and he hated he had to meet Feran after it started. He hoped it would end soon and peacefully. If the two lords couldn’t end this peacefully one of them would have to give up their home or they both would have to go somewhere new to each of them and that wasn’t a preferred option in the slightest because they both had families and friends they cared for deeply, abandoning them would just be too hard. They could write and sneek a visit from time to time but they wouldn’t spend their lives sneaking to one another.
When it was time for them to part each man struggled but it was indeed time. “stay safe” Feran said, that same look in his eyes. That look that told him how much it pained Feran to leave his side “you two, I’ll kill you if you die” Feran smiled and actually chuckled after a few moments “stop saying that, it sounds ridiculous”
“I mean it, don’t die or I’ll kill you”
“You’d have to catch me first.” He winked and left first. Gildhardt watched him for as long as he dared then turned away and headed back to his encampment. The men greeted him as he passed then went back to bandaging their wounds and making sure their weapons were in good condition. Even though Feran was quick, he still feared him taking an arrow from one of their archers.
“Gildhardt, your father was looking for you.” One of the men said as he jogged up to him.
“Battle planning more than likely.”
Gildhardt sighed. “I’ll go now then before he’s put in a bad mood.” His father, Gunter, was tougher than any soldier, tall, muscular even at his age. He had lost one eye when Gildhardt was just a boy, but it did nothing to hinder him. The old man was leaning over a large map when he walked in and didn’t even look up.
“Gildhardt, where have you been?”
“Bathing, what did you need?”
“Your mother sent you a letter, it’s over there. Some food as well. That woman needs to stop babying you.”
“Try not to wander off too much, we are forming another attack plan and I need you here to run drills with the men.”
“Yes sir.” He inwardly groaned as he collected the things his mother had sent. He wondered how long he would be stuck here, how long he would be away from Feran. His lover had the tendency to find his way into the encampment if he was left too long.
Gildhardt sat down and began to read his mothers letter once he was in his bunk. He missed her too. She was a good and patient woman. She had to be to deal with his father and sometimes even him. It relaxed him but only a little when he completed it. He hoped she truly was doing fine back at home. He knew his father would make sure of that though. He was a lot to deal with at times but his love for her was unquestionable. He ate a little of one of the desserts his mother sent. She always made sure to send him something that wasn’t just for nourishment, something he could enjoy in these awful times.
He saved the other food then went out to do some drills so his father wouldn’t get pissy. His father in an annoyed state was nothing any of them wanted to deal with. Gunter was starting to get concerned with what his son was up to. How much he was leaving hadn’t gone unnoticed. He had been tempted to write his wife about their son but he knew she would turn around and ask their son about it in a letter and Hunter didn’t want that.
He was proud of his son and while he was suspicious about why he was leaving like he was he didn’t want him offended. Gunter was sure whatever his son was doing it was for the good of them all. When the time was right his son would explain all to him he was sure.
Feran was bored. He groaned as he listened to his older brother droning on about battle plans. A part of him wanted to jump on the table and declare his undying love for the son of their enemy, but he resisted the urge. He wanted to be back with Gildhardt, back in his arms, back to his grumpy amusing attitude and affection. He sighed and Feran’s brother, Arnold glanced at him. He was sure he would get an earful about the importance of these meetings, but right now he didn’t care. He knew the plans without looking, they were easy to follow and he made sure he was the only to engage Gildhardt in battle. Once Arnold conclude the meeting, he stopped Feran, giving him an exasperated look.
“Don’t start, these maps and strategies bore me. I already know what you’re going to say, you’ve said it a thousand times so please spare me.”
“You can be so frustrating sometimes.”
“I’m the youngest, it’s my job.”
Arnold sighed. “I have something else to discuss with you. I noticed you were not in your tent again or even around the encampment. What have you been doing?”
Feran shrugged. “This and that.”
“Feran, you know if you were to die, father would be upset.”
He patted Arnold on the shoulder. He loved his brother and his father, but he knew what would happen if he told the truth. “I always come back so please don’t worry. I’m perfectly safe, I promise. You just focus on all of this, I’ll be fine.”
“You make it impossible not to worry brother. I love you”
“I know” Arnold allowed his brother to walk away without questioning him further. It wasn’t like this was unlike him. Feran had been a headache since the day he was born but he was their headache and he nor the rest of their family could take loseing him. Feran went to bed, his mind only on Gildhardt. He needed this to end so they could be together. It seemed like with every passing week since the start of their relationship it had gotten harder to stay away.
The next day he decided to try and talk to his father “dad? Do you have a moment?” He sighed “is ti about this war again?”
“son it IS necessary”
“I just really don’t think it is”
“We need the land.”
Feran sighed. “It is there land to give father, their home. Could you imagine if they came to our home and tried to take it.”
“Besides, you know nothing of snow or mountains or even the barbarians.”
“Enough Feran.” He snapped then sighed. “I do not wish to argue you with you anymore on this matter. I will have you dragged home.”
“And I will come back.”
“What has you changing your mind so suddenly?”
Feran felt his heart give a leap and he looked away. “I’m just tired of this is all, it’s ridiculous and unneeded. Neither you nor Arnold will listen to me.” He sighed. “I am asking you to reconsider, that’s all. Bloodshed is useless.” All he wanted was Gildhardt safe. He loved his family and his country, but he needed Gildhardt.
“You’re only ninteen, you’ll understand things like this someday” Feran gave his father a look of pure annoyance and left. He could have said anything but that. It infuriated him beyond words when he’d use his age to wave off what he was saying. His father sighed, feeling bad. This war was weighing in him too and any other time he wouldn’t have said somthing like that to his son. He had realized it hurt his feelings and massively upset him when he did that. Feran was only nineteen but he wasn’t any idiot. If he didn’t have so much to manage right now he would have walked after his son.
Feran walked away from the encampment, sneaking without meaning to sneak as he slipped away. He knew Gildhardt may be mad, but he really needed to see him so he slunk through the woods toward the enemy encampment. It was daylight so he grabbed a rock and climbed a tree close by and see if he could spot his lover. He nearly slipped and fell when he saw him running drills with the other men. He was shirtless and sweaty, his hair sticking to his forehead as he practiced. He swallowed, his mouth suddenly dry.
Gildhardt yelled at the men, correcting one when he saw him relaxing his stance. He knew his father could be watching and he wanted him them to look perfect. He called a halt to practice, telling them to take a jog around camp. He walked over to one of the horse troughs and splashed some water in his face. He felt something hit him in the back and he stood up straight, wiping the water out of his eyes as he looked around. He scanned the encampment, looking for a younger soldier who might have decided it was funny to goof off at a time like this. His eyes caught movement in one of the trees, a flash of red and glanced around to make sure no one else had seen. He knew it was Feran.
This moment was probably the worst time to come see him but Gildhardt couldn’t’ deny to himself how happy it made him. It sucked having to be happy, scared and mad at the same time. It wasn’t fair he and Feran lived this way. Gildhardt started to try and leave when he was stopped by his father “where are you going?”
“I need to go for a walk”
“No, I need you. Come”
“So could I come on this walk?”
“It wouldn’t be relaxing if you did”
“we aren’t here to relax” Feran frowned. He couldn’t hear what was going on but it did not look like Gildhardt was going to get around his father. Feran had wanted to be with him so badly and he hoped that maybe if he stayed in this tree long enough Gildhadt would be able to find a way to leave by himself. If they could even kiss just once Feran could feel good enough to go back to his own encampment.
Gildhardt hated to but he gave up and followed his father, deeply hoping nobody would see Feran. His heart was pounding from the stress. Feran rested in the tree, making sure not to draw attention to himself. Most the men seemed to tired and consumed in talking to eachother to be paying attention to trees but they were fighting a war so there was still a need to be still.
“So send someone off to flank them, they don’t need me.”Gildhardt said as he looked at his father across the table.
“You’re my best son.”
Gildhardt huffed. “I prefer staying here. Send Rogen, he’s just as good.”
“You’ve been incredibly stubborn of late.” Gunter said as he eyed his son suspiciously.
“Perhaps like mother I am tired of war. I’m sure she is happy home alone.”
“As my heir, you must learn to lead.”
“And what family is merely second.” He huffed again.
“You will leave in the morning.”
He turned and left, not giving his father time to say another word. He looked at no one as he headed for the tree where Feran hid, needing to speak to him and even reprimand him for coming here again, especially in broad daylight. He was happy his lover would come for him, but he wished he would wait in their spot instead of taking risks.
Feran quickly came down and Gildhardt hoisted him over his shoulder to carry him further from camp “Hey” Feran said with slight irritation but Gildhardt ignored him. He set his angry boyfriend down when he felt they were a good enough distance away. “I told you to stop doing that” Feran said and Gildhardt answered “you were too close to camp and you did this in broad daylight. What were you thinking?”
“Do not chastise me like I’m a child” Gildhardt groaned ‘we have a spot Feran, a safe spot”
“You would have no idea I was there if I would have went there”
“I would have cheked it just now because my father is sending me out in the morning”
“Yes, he is. Stop coming so close. Someone will see you and I’ll lose you”
“I’m not afraid of your friends.” He sighed. “Can’t you just hug me and say you’re happy to see me like a normal boyfriend?”
Gildhardt sighed and pulled him to his arms. “I am happy to see you, just stop worrying me.”
“I have to keep you on your toes.”
Gildhardt could tell he was tense. “So what happened?”
Feran frowned. “Just my father treating me like a child again.”
“You are still young.” Gildhardt teased.
Feran punched his chest. “Don’t you start. The fact that I’m young doesn’t mean I am stupid.”
“I was playing.” He leaned in, pressing a kiss to his cheek then the corner of his mouth. Feran turned his head, meeting their lips, feeling himself warm. He let his hands explore Gildhardt’s shirtless torso and smiled when he felt goosebumps rise on his skin. For these moments he could forget his worries. “I do love you Feran.”
“I know, I’m just frustrated. Where are they sending you anyway?”
“To the western pass.”
“Should I catch up with them and meet you on the battlefield?”
“Don’t you dare.” He gave him a smile then kissed his forehead. “I’ll meet you in our place when I return and I’ll try not to kill too many of your father’s men.”
“what’s most important is you don’t let them kill you. I know you’re strong and smart but I worry anyway”
“as I do for you Feran. Our dads are both being morons and I hate when it makes us quarrel”
“I just wish they could come to some sort of agreement or my dad could just back off”
“My dads a hard man to talk to”
“so is mine, it’s a bad combination when you want to stop a war”
“I’ve also already tried the angel of my mother. She’s about the only person who can ever sway him but even she has failed” They hugged, lingering in it. Both men felt emotional, worried they’d never have a normal relationship with eachother “Gildhardt, I will still abandon my home for you” Feran said softly and Gildhardt said “stop tempting me with being selfish with you. If you did that you’d come to regret it. You love your family”
“I would leave them to follow my heart. Even if it hurt afterwards, I would leave.”
“No more of that, we’ll find a way, even if we have to force them to talk.”
Gildhardt gave him another kiss. “I need to go okay, but I’ll be back.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
It was harder today to walk away from Feran. He knew he was sad, he could feel it as he made his way back to the encampment. Feran himself lingered for a bit, fighting the urge to follow him. When he turned away, his heart ached more than usual and he felt himself near tears. He let himself cry and only calmed when he neared camp. “Feran?” He sighed at his brother’s voice and looked up to see him leaning against a tree at the edge of the forest.
“What now? Did I miss some minor detail while you planned?”
Arnold grabbed his arm as he went to pass by. “Feran please, I’m your brother and worried. Talk to me.”
“So you can run to father, I don’t think so.”
“You will, no matter the secret.” He tugged his arm away. “You’re the oldest, so you’ll think it’s your job to tell. You always did before, anytime I did anything remotely dangerous.”
“But we’re adults now and we should be able to speak freely.” He looked at his feet. “I want to attribute this to you just being you.”
“If you want my secrets then you’ll have to help me stop this war, until you agree, I can’t tell you.”
“Feran” he started and his younger brother interrupted him “your tone says everything” he scoffed. “Okay, I’ll help you. Somthings going on with you and I for one care more about that than getting more land.”
“Have I ever been a liar Feran?” Feran sighed “no”
“Talk to me and I swear I’ll help you get dad to stop this” Feran spilled everything. He told his brother about how he and Gildhardt had met, their meetings, only leaving out where they met just incase his brother did turn on him. Everything was at risk anyway but at minimum he wouldnt be able to tell dad where to get Gildhardt alone. He ended with “I’ve found love, real, honest, consuming love and this damn war is getting in the way”
“Do you realize how dangerous that is? What if he turns on you?”
“Arnold, please try to stop being so protective. I’m not a baby anymore and I know what I’m doing. If he had wanted me dead, he would have killed me that first day. I feel this in ever cell and bone of who I am, in my heart and soul, in every part of me. It was like a shock, like I had been struck by lightening. I need him.”
Arnold rubbed the back of his neck. “What’s your plan?”
“Father insists we fight like princes so we will.”
“Meaning the best way to unite kingdoms is through marriage and the occasional lie. Since I am a prince I have the authority to marry Gildhardt and I and when he returns I will do so.”
“And the lie?”
“He and I will write a letter to our fathers saying the other was captured and is being held prisoner in the enemy encampment and if they want us back then they must come to a place of our choosing alone or else. You can follow father and help keep things calm.”
“Where did you get such a wicked mind?” Feran shrugged and Arnold sighed. “What if your plan backfires?”
“Gildhardt cannot be touched without reason. As my husband he would be safe and you will be there, I trust you to help us keep their heads from exploding.”
“You’re smarter than we somtimes give you credit for brother. I’m sorry, if we weren’t asses and dismissing you all the time you may have come forward with this sooner”
“I know you don’t mean to be a jerk” Arnold chuckled and hugged his brother “when will you do this?”
“I’ll go wait in our meeting spot and then get things going with Gildhardt”
“Okay, I’ll make sure father isn’t looking for you”
“Thank you” Feran ate then went to bed, knowing Gildhardt couldn’t meet him until tomorrow anyway. In the morning Feran went to his brother bright and early with his letter “Don’t give this to father until seven pm. I know that will be enough time for Gildhardt to meet me and get his letter off”. Feran was happy when it only took Gildhardt until two pm to show up. He had obviously come as soon as he possibly could. “I’m so glad to see you here” Gildhardt truly did sound relieved to be with him again and it made Ferans heart flip. As they embraced he told Gildhardt of his plan. “My sneaky little prince” Gildhradt said then kissed his forehead “Do I need to write the letter or do you have one for me to give?”
“I have one” Feran said as he handed Gildhardt the letter. “I’ll be right back. I know precisely where to put this”
“Make sure nobody sees you do it so this isn’t all ruined”
“You know I wont mess this up love” He said then ran off to quickly return. Gildhardt walked aimlessly back into his camp and asked where his father was. He was glad to hear he was in his bunk. Gildhardt quickly went to his fathers office and set the letter down. He pretty much did everything there so would find it soon. Gildhardt then sneekily left again, rushing back to Feran. he had made their spot the spot where their fathers were going.
“What happens if this doesn’t go as planned?” Gildhardt asked, letting his fingers play through Feran’s hair.
“Then we elope.”
“Would you be happy with that?”
Feran let his arms slip around Gildhardt’s neck. “As long as I’m with you, I’ll always be happy.”
Gildhardt hugged him tightly, pressing him as close as he could. He wanted him badly and wished they weren’t waiting on their father’s. “I love you so much. So how do we go about getting married?”
Feran rubbed their noses together. “That’s easy.” He pulled back, taking Gildhardt’s hands. “Gildhardt Dormer of the Fuar Clan, I Feran Gale love you more than life. You are my heart and soul, my everything. I give myself into your keeping. My heart, soul, and body are yours forever. Now you.”
Gildhardt stepped closer, smiling lovingly. “Feran Gale, I Gildhardt Dormer have fallen madly in love with you. Having you in my life has made me a better man and I would be lost without you. I give you all that is me, my heart, my body, everything.”
Feran had to swallow the lump forming in his throat. “I bless this marriage as the prince of Ogma, you may kiss me now.”
Gildhardt moved in slow, consumed in that burning in his lovers eyes. It was a long, heartfelt kiss. When they parted the two sat down together to wait on their fathers. “I’m just worried my father will show up first” Gildhardt eventually whispered “why?” Feran asked then Gildhardt spoke again “It’ll only be me to stand between you and him. He doesn’t always ask questions first.”
“we’ll be okay, this needed to be done”
“It’s just only five and you said you told your brother not to give your father his until seven. Mine is in his office all the time. He may have already seen it by now”
‘we’ll deal with whatever happens okay? This isn’t the perfect plan since there was no way of making sure both our fathers got it at the same time but it was the best plan I had” Gildhardt kissed Ferans head “I’m not saying anything bad about your plan baby. I’m just worried because I love you and I don’t want my father to think you’re holding me captive and hurt you. I’m happy this is all coming to an end.”
It was Gildhardt’s father who showed up first, eyes bubbling with rage that soon turned to confusion when he saw both his son and Feran standing there together. He started toward them when Feran’s father pushed through the woods, looking worried and ready to kill. “What in the hell is going on?” Gunter asked.
“Just listen.” Gildhardt tried.
“What is he doing here? What are you doing here?” Feran’s father had his sword drawn and Feran jumped between the two men.
“Whoa, calm down and we’ll explain. First, put your weapons away.”
“The hell I will.” Gunter said.
“Could you just listen for once father, banging heads with you has become so tiring.” Gildhardt replied. “You will listen to what we have to say or my husband and I will disappear.”
“Husband?” Both men said in unison, both of them shocked and confused.
“Yes, husband.” Feran said. “Now please put your weapons away.”
The men did and Feran began to explain. The whole time Gildhardt kept his eyes on his father, ready to protect Feran if he needed to. His dad wasn’t absolutely unreasonable but he was fast and strong so Gildhardt would rather be ready than regret it later. Their fathers looked shocked as Feran finished talking. It seemed as if neither knew what to say. It was actually Gunter who spoke first “I’m not sure what to do son. His father is the one attacking us” Ferans dad sighed “Just give me a moment. I’m thinking”
“we can’t give you our land.” Gunter continued. Gildhardt said “is there any way we can all share it?” Ferans dad looked at his son “This is a sure thing son? Forever with this man?”
“Well then we could just merge everything. Them marrying makes everything one. Kingdoms have done this many times, finding peace through marriage” Gunter looked at his own son “Okay, but theres a lot we need to iron out”
“Of course, we could stay here and talk if you want. Our boys should be involved anyway”
“fine but I need to let me camp know Gildhardt is safe”
“I understand, I’ll wait here” When he was gone Ferans father said “Your brother knew didn’t he? He didn’t seem upset enough you were gone”
“I’m sorry son”
“don’t be, it’s all working out now” When Gunter returned the four all discussed how everything would work and how they would announce their marriage to everyone. Feran and Gildhardt were both excited and relieved. They could finally have a real relationship and things were truly going to be okay in their lands.
~ The End