Chapter 9 - Surrender
March 18, 1645
The Outskirts of The Walled City of Arcadia
-King Seth Liam Ivaris XV-
“What were you thinking? Running away like that?!?” I growled and Adrienne took a wise step backwards. I removed my belt and removed the straps that held my Claymores in my back. I dropped them to the ground followed by my shirt.
I saw Adrienne’s eyes roam over my broad chest and her tongue shot out and licked her lips. I raised an eyebrow at her and it seemed to snap her out of her sensual thoughts. She reeled and turned her back towards me.
“I wanted to get away from you. As far away as possible.” She replied shakily. Her words were another blow to my gut. If it was a real blow, I would’ve doubled over in pain. I don’t understand the feelings Adrienne evoke in me but there’s one thing I know: I want her as close to me as possible. I want her by my side. Always.
“I apologize for what I did. I know it’s inexcusable and I won’t even explain and justify my actions. I am sorry for the pain I’ve caused.” I said. I took one look at her and her mouth was open in shock. Then I turned my back to her and waded towards the river where I washed the blood and sweat off of my skin. I hope she’d buy my apology for it was the first time I ever apologized and I know I must’ve sounded like a fool.
Then I retrieved my weapons and started cleaning them on the water too. I grabbed a towel from my pack and dried myself and put on a change of clothes. I went towards Adrienne who was now sitting on a rock facing the opposite edge of the river.
“We must return to Ravenswood.” I told her.
She was silent for a long time and then she shook her head. Something snapped inside me and anger flared up once more. “What?” I asked.
“No.” She said softly. The anger burst into flames now. “No one refuses me.” I declared. “I just did.” She retorted.
“No. You did not.” I said and then hauled her up and placed her over my shoulder. “Put me down, you brute!” she said and used her fists to pound on my back. I continued walking towards my horse where I deposited her on the saddle. I jumped up before she could climb down the horse and I pinned her there with my arms on either side of her.
“What about my horse?!?” she cried out. I urged my horse, Lightning, to go towards the other horse and I grabbed her reins and tied it on the part of the saddle at Lightning’s rump.
“Your horse will follow us.” I replied.
“Please don’t make me do this.” She pleaded.
“No. You’re mine, Adrienne. Remember that always.”
She was silent during the entire ride but her body was tense and I could feel that she was fuming inside. I ignored her too and concentrated on the journey home. Women were rarely silent when they were angry and I’m sure I was blessed by the gods when they gave me this quietly-seething woman.
“We are going back to the palace and you’re staying there. I’ll not let you out of my sight.” I said and I saw her knuckles turn white as she clenched her hands. Again, she made no response and just bowed her head.
I don’t know what irritates me further: her silence or the way she held herself so rigidly. I wanted her to shout at me and argue her case. I knew she had a fiery temper but where was it now?
If this is how she likes it, so be it.
March 20, 1645 (2 days later)
The Walled City of Arcadia, Capital of Ivaris
-King Seth Liam Ivaris XV-
I was sitting on the chair in my study, a glass of wine in hand. Pleasure shot through my veins like wildfire as Brianna was on her knees, pleasuring me with her tongue. Her hands were wrapped tightly around me and her lips were doing wicked things.
Blood all rushed towards that certain part of me and I closed my eyes. Every nerve-ending down there felt like it was on fire. I leaned back in my chair and savoured the feeling. I opened my eyes once more and looked at Brianna but it was Adrienne’s face I saw.
It was hazel eyes that looked up at me and it was her brown hair that tickled my thighs. It was the faint scent of lavender that lingered in the air and not Brianna’s favourite rose scent. I jerked back in my chair as I saw Adrienne’s lips wrap around my engorged manhood and a tongue shot out and licked the length.
I stood up quickly and the glass of wine I was holding spilled on my chest. Brianna stood up and used her tongue to lick the wine. The pleasure was back but I can’t seem to enjoy it. I gently pushed her away.
“That’s alright. You may go back to your room now. Ask whatever you want from the governess and it shall be yours.” I told her as I pulled up my breeches.
I don’t know what happened to me but I just couldn’t enjoy anyone’s touch anymore. I found pleasure with what they did but it seemed like a chore. I missed the feeling of fulfilment I had and longed to find it again.
She gave me a very lovely pout with those lips. “You didn’t like it? Am I losing my touch?” she asked. I shook my head. “I find that I’m not in the mood. Go. Now.” I said and she walked towards the door. I have neither time nor the inkling to console pouting females.
Adrienne never pouted. She never asked for anything from me and she never used her feminine wiles to get whatever she wanted from me.
I poured myself another glass of brandy and then drank the contents. Why must all my thoughts go back to Adrienne?
The maids told me that since the day I’ve brought her back to the palace, she hasn’t spoken. She went about her usual routines but she avoided anyone. She most certainly avoided me and threw deadly glares at me at every chance. If those eyes of hers could kill, I’d be rotting on my grave now.
I must put a stop to this behaviour of hers.
I opened the door and addressed the footman standing there. “Get Adrienne for me. Tell her I’ll meet her in the gardens after an hour. Tell her that it’s an order if she refuses.” The footman rushed off and I sat on my desk again and thought about Adrienne.
One hour later, I was waiting on the courtyard when I felt her familiar presence. I turned and saw her striding towards me wearing a very simple gown that’s the color of dirt. I flinched at the sight of it.
A maid stood nearby and I addressed her. “Why does she insist on wearing those rags?” I whispered. “She has no choice, milord.” The maid blurted out. Then she realized what she has said and her eyes widened and her fingers went up and covered her mouth.
I gave her the scariest look I could. “Why does she not have a choice?” I growled. The maids fingers found her apron and she twisted it over and over. Her eyes avoided my gaze. “Should I send you to the dungeons then?” I asked. “Or kill you right here and now.” I said menacingly.
“N-no! No n-n-need for t-that, your highness!” she said in a high-pitched squeal. “Go on.” I insisted.
“The s-seamstress hates her... And s-she makes the lady pick last. And makes the m-most horrible d-dresses for her.” The maid replied. I felt my fury rise again. “You may go back to your duties.” I told the maid and she ran and stumbled away from me.
Someone’s going to be punished... And it isn’t the maid.
I was still angry when Adrienne reached my side. I looked at her and I must have still been frowning for she flinched and took one step back. I forced myself to relax.
She did an elegant curtsy but still she did not speak. I motioned for her to come and she followed me with exaggerated movements. She clearly was trying my patience but instead of getting mad, I smiled at her and I saw the effect immediately. My actions threw her into confusion.
“I had an urge to practice archery this afternoon and I wanted you to join me.” I told her and for a moment, I saw a hint of happiness flash through her eyes. But she quickly covered it.
We went to the courtyard where my men arranged for some targets placed in various distances. There was a long table where bows and arrows were arranged neatly. I picked a wooden bow that was light and handed it to her.
She looked at the bow and I saw a smile tease her lips. I grabbed my own bow and placed an arrow on it.
“Here. You place the arrow above your finger like this. And then you have to keep it balanced. With your remaining three fingers, you pull back the string and aim. Then take a deep breath and let the arrow fly.” I instructed and showed her how to do it.
She looked at me with amusement in her eyes and then proceeded to do as I taught her to. She bent the string back, laughed and then let the arrow fly towards the nearest target. The arrow landed on the grass, nowhere near the target.
To my side, I saw one of my men laughing boisterously. He was even clutching a tree for support and he was bent over as he laughed. Adrienne didn’t seem to notice. I turned to my side, withdrew my dagger and held it up high. I looked at the man and let the sunlight glint on the blade. His laughter turned to vigorous coughing.
I resheathed my dagger and went back to facing Adrienne. “Try again.” I urged her and she did. The arrow landed far away from the target again. I looked at her from head to foot and it was as if she held herself back.
Her position was wrong and there was something close to malice and amusement behind those eyes. She just seemed to be faking it! She was holding back her skills! I laughed and she looked at me as if I was going mad.
“Milady, did you know that this man has been laughing at you?” I asked and pointed towards the offending soldier. If there’s one thing Adrienne valued, it was her pride. And I know just how to bring out her true skills
“I say you are better than him. What say you to a competition?” I proposed. She nodded and the smile on the soldier’s face vanished.
“May I borrow yours, your highness?” she asked and held out her hand for the bow. She spoke! I stifled the urge to point it out to her and just held my mouth shut.
Mine was made of the finest wood and the string was really hard to pull. But I decided that I would just humor her so I handed over my bow.
“Ladies first?” the soldier asked with a smug grin on his face.
“You go first milord. I insist.” She said.
“Three shots. The closest to the center wins. I’ll be the judge.” I said and the two players took their positions.
The soldier went first. His first shot on the nearest target was on the dead center of it. The fifty metre shot landed on the center too. But during the 100 meter target, his arrow met only the outer ring and not the center.
I looked at Adrienne and she had a grin on her face.
She placed an arrow on my bow, pulled the string back and then released. Instead of aiming for the shortest target, she aimed for the farthest one and her aim was true. She hit it dead center. The soldier behind her gasped.
She loaded the bow and aimed again. She aimed for the farthest target again and let another arrow fly. Again it went on the red circle on the middle of the target.
On her last shot, she loaded two arrows on the bow and released it. Both arrows hit center. The other soldiers cheered and laughed and threw insults towards the soldier who failed. “What should you be saying to the lady, then?” I told the soldier.
“I beg your pardon, milady. I should not have laughed.” The soldier said and Adrienne smiled. “Apology accepted.”
I grinned at her. “Where’d you learn to do that?” I asked her. She seemed to be in a good mood now. She rewarded me with another smile. “I grew up with the Captain of the King’s Guard of Amaranth. He was my neighbour and he taught me everything. We played together when we were younger.” She said.
I felt as if I wanted to grab my dagger again and throw it at the captain she was talking about. It was irrational but it was what I felt at the moment. “Care to go on another competition?” I asked.
“What do you have in mind?” she asked.
“If you win, I’d grant you your freedom. I’ll have my men deliver you anywhere you like tomorrow.” I said.
Her eyes widened and her lips parted on a shocked gasp.
“You’re that sure of your skills?” she said with a little laugh. Then her face got serious and she added, “And what if you win?”
“I’d have you willing in my bed tonight, tomorrow and every other night I want.” I whispered to her ear. She shivered at the feeling of my breath on her ear and then she gazed at me.
“Deal.” She said.
“Wait. What are we aiming for?” she asked. I caressed her hair and then tugged at the blue ribbon holding her hair in place. I handed the ribbon to one of the soldiers.
“Tie this on that tree.” I said and pointed to the tree which was a couple of hundred meters away. The soldier rushed off, climbed the tree and tied the ribbon on one of the branches where it fluttered in the wind.
“Three shots. Whoever hits the ribbon the most wins.” I declared.
“What if we all hit the ribbon with our three shots? Who’s declared victor?” she asked.
“The closest to the knot.” I answered.
She nodded and I handed her the bow and some arrows. “You go first. I insist.” I said and she took her position on the line and aimed. She aimed carefully and waited til the wind was blowing more softly.
She released the first arrow and it hit the edge of the ribbon and pinned it to the tree. A collective gasp was heard from the soldiers watching.
“Your turn.” She said and handed me my bow. I aimed and then pulled the string back as hard as I could. I released the arrow and it hit the knot. I grinned at Adrienne and there was a flash of irritation on her face.
She took the bow from me and aimed another arrow. She hit the knot this time and she smiled smugly at me. I took the bow from her and aimed. During this shot, I missed the knot by a couple of centimetres and hit a part of the ribbon instead.
Now we were tie: one arrow on the knot each and one on the ribbon.
This was Adrienne’s last shot and she took it sincerely. She waited a long while for the wind was blowing hard. When the wind died down, she aimed carefully. I walked towards her and stood near her back.
She pulled the string back. “Good luck, Adrienne.” I said and my tongue darted and I licked her earlobe. I remembered how she loved it and she gasped in shock at the same time she released the arrow.
It hit the branch below the ribbon.
I took the bow from her before she could protest and let my last arrow fly as swiftly as I could. Again it hit the knot.
“You cheated!” she shouted. I just laughed and so did my men. “I said nothing about that during the rules, right?” I answered and she flushed red.
“Wait for me tonight, li’nra.” I whispered and then strolled back to the palace in high spirits.
Why that overbearing, cheating, arrogant, lying, cruel bastard!
He cheated! I could’ve won that but he cheated! Clearly, that man had no honor whatsoever. And that’s saying too much because he’s a king! He’s king of one of the greatest and largest empires, Ivaris, and he acts like that!
He acts like a child!
I paced the floor of my room continuously thinking about the events during the archery competition. How could he do that! Ugh! I flopped down on the bed and punched the mattress and the pillows until the rage fled me.
Then, I was so tired that I drifted off to sleep.
“You came!” he said excitedly. “Of course, I would. I won’t miss the games for anything.” I answered. He pulled me to his arms and gave me a kiss that spoke volumes about how happy he was that I was here.
“So what’s happening?” I asked.
“I think first in line is the race towards the top of the hills. Then a swimming competition, archery, caber toss, dragon boat competition and many other things.
“Wow. The one who organized this outdid himself this year.” I remarked and Aiken laughed.
“No. It’s like this every year. But this is the first time you’ll see the events with front row seats.” Aiken replied and I held onto his arm.
“Will you be competing?” I asked.
“If I compete, the games won’t be fun for the warriors anymore. I’d always win.” He said in that arrogant tone of his. I rolled my eyes at him.
“What? It’s true.” He said with a shrug and that dazzling smile of his and I almost melted.
“I want to see you compete. One game. Please?” I asked.
He sighed and then embraced me once more. “I can deny you nothing.” He said. “I’ll compete in the first event. The swimming.” I clapped my hands and then removed the white ribbon on my hair and tied it around his arm.
“Good luck, my love.” I said. “Thank you, li’eras.” He replied and patted the ribbon. “But I don’t really need it. You know I’ll win either way.” Before I could reply, he was already dashing towards the lake.
I went to the edge of the bank and watched as Aiken removed his linen shirt; leaving him only in his belt and breeches. The maids and ladies watching the festival giggled as they saw how finely sculpted he was. His body was so fit and rippling with muscles.
‘This was how a God looked like’. I thought to myself as I glanced at the stone idol which depicted the God of Warriors as a tall, bulky person with a sword in his hand. I tore my eyes away from the idol and back to Aiken’s body. A lady approached him and offered him her handkerchief as a token. He just smiled and patted the ribbon on his arm and then he pointed towards me and smiled. The lady walked away, disappointed.
True to his word, Aiken won the swimming contest.
“You cheated.” I accused him when he came back to my side. “I did not!” he replied indignantly with a scowl on his face. “You did. I think you used a bit of your magic. I felt it in the air.” I said jokingly.
“I most certainly did not! I have no magic, you silly woman!” he said and this time he laughed as he pulled me back into his arms.
I woke up and it was dark in my room. I sighed and then got up and lit some candles.
Another dream about Aiken and Selene. These past few days, all of my dreams were about them. I can’t help but wonder what they mean. Why am I dreaming about them? Why do I look like Selene? Who is Aiken? Am I to play some important role? Is that why they kept showing me these dreams and visions?
I walked towards the window and looked out. I looked at the stars and searched for the constellations my father used to point out to me. I sighed again when I didn’t see the usual constellations.
Suddenly there was a knock on the door and then it swung open, revealing the man who I hated so much. I looked back on the window again and I heard his footsteps as he walked towards me.
“Beautiful, aren’t they?” I said. “Sheska.” He replied but I saw that he was looking at me. I flushed under his gaze and looked at the stars again.
“Tomorrow, we’ll go to the conservatory. There’s a large telescope there built by my tutor in Astrology when I was younger. Tomorrow, we’ll look at the stars and I’ll point out to you the different constellations.” He said. I raised my head and looked at him, expecting a smirk, but he was serious.
“Truly?” I asked. He gave me a smile and said. “Truly.” Then he lifted my hand and kissed the back of my palm.
“Now... About that wager.” He said and before I could reply, I was hauled back to his strong arms and then his lips were on mine. This time, he kissed me slowly as if savouring each touch of our lips. I kept my lips shut but he coaxed them apart and soon enough, his tongue tasted all of me.
I moaned as he kissed his way to my neck and then up my cheek and he blew playfully into my ear. Suddenly, I remembered the competition and passion fled. “No.” I said firmly and tried to push him away.
A playful glint flashed in his eyes and he hauled me back into his arms. He grabbed both my wrists and then his arms wrapped around me, effectively pinning them on my side. He smothered my protests by kissing me until I was breathless.
He carried me towards the bed and we both tumbled down the soft mattress. I felt his hands on the bodice of my dress. “You’ll not be wearing these rags anymore.” He declared and then he drew his dagger. I flinched when I saw the glint of the blade.
“Your highness, no!” I shouted, thinking that he intended to stab me. I closed my eyes and braced myself for the pain but I heard the sound of fabric tearing. He sliced a path from the neckline until my navel and the torn bodice parted and revealed my breasts.
The King placed his dagger back on his belt and then his hands took hold of the torn bodice and tugged. There was another sound of ripping fabric and now my dress was torn in two. The King pulled and then dropped my dress on the bed. He removed his shirt, his belt and his breeches and then came down on the bed with me.
He turned me on my back and ran his fingers down my spine. His fingers stroked my back tenderly and then he kissed the bandages over my wound. “I’m sorry.” He whispered and then went back to kissing my neck.
I tensed when he kissed my back and he must’ve felt it because he gathered me in his arms once more. “Don’t fight this, Adrienne.” He said in a husky voice. “I don’t know what this is but something draws me to you. It’s as if this is meant to be.” He said as he kissed me. My heart leapt inside my chest the moment he touched his lips to mine.
Since the first time he touched me, that was what I’ve felt. When I’m with him, I feel safe and secure and I know I should be mad at him but I feel as if I’ve waited a long time for him and when I see him, all the anger inside me flees and is replaced by something warm and fuzzy.
“Don’t hurt me again.” I said and then wrapped my arms around him. “Never.” He said huskily and I saw a flash of tenderness in his gaze. He lowered me on the bed and then trailed a path of kisses down to my nipples.
He opened his mouth and drew one in and my back arched off the bed. My breath came in gasps as he suckled and my fingers went towards his head and buried themselves in his luxurious, black hair.
He picked up my hands and then placed them on his chest. I felt the muscles flex underneath my touch. My fingers slowly explored downwards and when I closed my palm around his length, his eyes closed and his face grimaced in pleasure.
A thrill went through my body at the sight of this proud warrior and King melting beneath my hand. I slowly pumped his length up and down and he gritted his teeth. A few seconds later, his hand closed around my wrist and he drew my hand away.
“No more or this will be over quickly.” He rasped and then his body covered mine. In one smooth thrust, he was inside me and his mouth closed over mine, swallowing my gasp at his penetration.
He encased himself to the hilt and then lay still. I arched my hips up and moved them slowly. I heard the King curse and then his hands gripped my hips and stilled them. “Dammit woman. You’ll be the death of me. Stop that or I’ll spill myself right now.” He said in a husky voice as he fought for control.
A few moments later, he moved. He withdrew and then slammed back into me forcefully.
I moaned again and again as he moved deliciously inside me. I wrapped my legs around him and he pumped furiously. He leaned down and kissed me again just as his hand went down and touched the place where all my nerve-endings gathered. I bucked underneath him and he bit back a groan. Then his discipline shattered and he moved hard and fast. Together, we spiralled upwards the ladder of pleasure and then together, we reached the top and came crashing back down.
I heard the King groan as he spilled himself inside me and then he collapsed heavily on top of me. His breathing was ragged and I felt his heart thudding furiously inside his chest. I lifted a hand and stroked his hair away from his face.
He lifted his head and then rolled off me. I was sure he’d get up and then tell me to ask whatever jewel I want but instead of getting up and getting dressed, he rolled over and then settled himself comfortably. Then his arms pulled me towards him and settled me in his chest.
He sighed and then his breathing calmed and his body relaxed. His eyes closed and he was blissfully asleep. Instead of obsessing over every detail of what happened, I just closed my eyes and settled into his warm embrace. His warm male scent lulled me into sleep and it was the most comfortable sleep I’ve ever experienced since I’ve been here at Ravenswood.
li’ eras- my love
li’nra- my woman