Warrior’s Bride (Pt 4)

Chapter Four

“Of course, however, as with the rest of this province she is now my property.”
Harbin regarded the imposing warrior before him thoughtfully. He had heard many rumours of the ruler of Karok, not a man he ever expected to find himself dealing with. Many of those spoke of his ruthlessness, although others talked of his fairness in dealing with his subjects. Right now however, he was threatening his much-loved niece. Moving forward, his tone was even, “Perhaps we could talk privately, Cadell of Karok. This province and my own have a peaceful understanding which I would like to preserve.” Tialla stared, hurt in her eyes hearing his words as despondency filled her. He had been her last hope for freedom, his willingness to work with Cadell a bitter blow.
Looking up she could see the triumphant smile which filled the brutal man beside her, he nodding before indicating that the two move to a chamber off the throne room. Left alone, she was aware of the lecherous looks of the warriors, all their eyes now focussed on her, many openly leering. Raising her head proudly she turned from them, her posture regal, determined not to allow them to see the way her stomach flip-flopped with fear. Her own uncle, the man she had looked up to her whole life had betrayed her, her nails digging into her palms to stop the tears which warmly stung the back of her eyes. Resolutely, her chin rose even higher. She was a princess and whatever would happen, she would bear it with dignity.
In the chamber Cadell took a seat on one of the many high-backed chairs close to the unlit fire, indicating that the other man take the seat opposite, Harbin complying with a small nod. Seated, both men regarded each other for a few seconds, both sizing up the other. Cadell waited, his stance relaxed before the older man sighed, “We have a problem Cadell.”
The warrior before him raised an eyebrow, “And what would that be Harbin? I believe that I was very clear earlier.”
Harbin’s eyes hardened, “I wished this conversation in private because it is my hope that we can come to a resolution which will be acceptable to us both.”
Cadell nodded softly. “That is a good place to start. However, you must understand that I have already taken the province. So perhaps the time for diplomacy is over.”
Harbin smiled gently. “You may have captured this province Cadell, but that is a far cry from keeping it.”
The younger man stiffened in his seat, his look hardening, “Are you threatening me Harbin, because I do not take well to threats.”
Harbin watched the warrior closely. “I understand why you need this province Cadell. My sources have informed me of your fight with Garel of Drakel.”
Across from him he was aware as the other man stilled, his voice hard, “Do not think to take Garel’s side in this, because you would not like me for an enemy.”
Harbin gave a soft chuckle, Cadell scowling at his show of humour. “My aim here is not to become embroiled in any war. However, if we cannot reach a solution, then I will not take sides with your enemy. I will instead attack you. If your army has to fight my men on one side – and believe me Cadell you will not find my men as easy a victory as Tialla’s – then I would imagine that your enemy will take great delight in waiting to pick you off if you were successful. We both know that such a battle would reduce your fighting capability. You would be an easy target.”
Cadell sat back, his look thoughtful. He had heard of Harbin’s army, their exploits and fighting ability well known, and the only reason he had agreed to meet with the man when he seized power over Leando. He knew he spoke the truth and he had no real wish to take on the man before him. “As you say Harbin neither of us wants a war with the other, however, I am not prepared to leave Leando, you already know its strategic significance.”
Harbin nodded softly, a smile still playing on his lips. “Yes. I am also aware that even if you did leave then it would take little time for Garel to move in. In fact my sources tell me that even now he is moving an army this way”, a sad light entering his eyes. “It would seem that my late brother’s province is now at threat from two warring factions. However, I have heard much of Garel and my preference would be you Cadell.”
The man opposite laughed softly, “I am honoured Harbin… So we seem to be back to where we started are we not?”
The older man tapped his mouth thoughtfully for a few seconds, his words bringing a look of surprise to Cadell. “Tialla is a beautiful woman is she not?”
With a dismissive wave Cadell nodded. “Yes, very”, seeing the way the other man nodded.
“She is very dear to me, and as I have no children of my own, she will inherit my own province one day”, his eyes moving to the cold fireplace, a distant look within them. “However, she worries me. The law of this land states that she cannot become Queen in her own right until she reaches 25. Till then I allow her to govern with my support”, his words pointed, “And by support I mean with all the armies I have at my disposal.”

{next installment December 9th)

Warrior’s Bride (PT 3)

Chapter Three

With this he relaxed his hold on her, turning her to face him. With quick, deft movements he released the knots of her robe, the robe falling to the ground as her eyes stared in horror back at him, she now stood completely naked before him, feeling the heat fill her cheeks.
Again his look moved over her, his eyes filling with heat as he took in her perfect figure. Her pert breasts were large for her small frame. The nipples hardened, making him swallow the groan of want. Her flat stomach and curved back only added to the way his body reacted to her. Her bottom flared out with long shapely legs completing this perfect woman. Cadell smiled.
Tialla felt totally humiliated. Trying to turn from him his fingers dug into her shoulders keeping her still to allow him to take his time to let his look take in every perfect inch of her. “I heard that you were beautiful, and you do not disappoint”, his words gentle as she looked heavenward wishing that her torment would end.
Never before had she been treated like this, her insides shrivelling up. “You are a barbarian”, she bit out as he chuckled softly.
“If I was a barbarian Tialla, then you would already be my woman… I would have taken you on your very own throne.”
Closing her eyes she fought hard not to give herself over to the way her body tried to tremble, repeating over and over in her head that she was a princess. “What do you want?”
Cadell released her, moving to the table which had been placed behind the throne. She frowned as he handed silks to her, the kind of silks worn by harem girls, her mouth tightening. “Wear these”, he demanded.
Meeting his look, she shook her head, “I am not a harem girl”, his eyes full of mockery.
“It is those or nothing… Your choice… I have no problem with you remaining as you are… but in a few moments my men will be joining me.”
She snatched the top and bottom from him, quickly pulling the silken clothing on, relieved that while they showed much of her figure, they hid much more. When dressed he moved forward once more, she gasping in shock as his hands grabbed her hair held within a neat pleated knot, pulling her head back before quickly wrapping a leather collar around her throat. “No”, she moaned, her hands tearing at the circle around her neck as he pulled them once more to her side.
“If you keep fighting me I will have your hands tied behind your back. Do you understand?” Nodding, she stilled, her eyes daggers of hatred, Cadell only giving a laugh as his eyes flicked to her hair.
“Take it down”, adding softly as her mouth set in a mutinous line, “Or perhaps you would rather I did it.” With a scowl, she pulled the pins holding her long hair, allowing it to cascade around her back and shoulders, the length falling nearly to her bottom. Cadell held down the small growl. Thick wavy blonde hair framed her beauty, softening her features even more, his blood boiling alarmingly within his veins. She really was a woman any man would find delight in. “Kneel Tialla”, his request once more greeted with a snort of derision from her as again she refused.
Shaking his head softly he leant down retrieving a length of chain from under the throne, her eyes seeing the loop which had been hammered into the ground, following his actions with confusion. As he grabbed her neck and threaded the chain through the hoop on the collar she finally realised his intent, trying to pull away as he hauled on the chain Tialla falling to the ground unable to stand as the chain held her low to the ground. “You will learn one way or the other that if you do not obey then there are repercussions… and usually not good ones”, his voice soft, almost patient as she glared vehemently at him.
The sound of footsteps saw both turn as one of his men marched purposefully towards them. Stopping, he again saluted his commander. “The delegation is here Sir”, Cadell nodding as he once more took the throne .
“You know what to do.” She looked at him questioninglym his expression serious as his eyes fell to herm “I suggest that you stay silent Tialla, for your own good,” Before she was able to respond the doors flew open, his men moving silently into the room creating a line leading to the throne itself.
Tialla was aware as Cadell sat forward, his features sombre, her confused look following where he watched. With a half-sob, half-relieved cry she saw the delegation he mentioned, her guardian and uncle Harbin leading the five men. Coming to a stop feet from the throne, his eyes fell on his niece, anger deep in his eyes seeing her chained to the throne.
“What is the meaning of this Cadell of Karok?”, his voice low and dangerous, his look turning to the man sat on the throne, before his eyes turned to look more reassuringly at his niece. “Fear not your highness, your people support you.”
Tialla smiled bravely, her head nodding, “Thank you, tell them…”, before the chain around her neck was pulled tighter, her head dropping to the wood as she cried out unable to speak as Cadell stood towering over her his foot on the chain holding her down as he glared at Harbin.
“She no longer rules Harbin, and you should take care to address your comments to the new ruler unless you wish to be escorted back out from my palace.” With that he stepped off the chain, Tialla once more able to sit back, her eyes looking at her guardian, panic now shadowing them.
With a groan she saw the way her guardian made an apologetic inclination of his head, his eyes returning to Cadell. “Forgive me… You must understand that Tialla is my niece… It pains me to see her this way.” The man towering over her looked down, his hand gently stroking her head as she tried to pull away from his touch, the chain yanking her neck as he smiled, the curve of his lips devoid of any real humour.

{next installment 25th Nov}