Blinking awake the next morning, Tialla frowned, her eyes expecting the sun to be pouring in from the large window in her bedroom, the breeze cooling the large opulent room. However, it was dark, a closed in feel to the area along with a musty smell, confusion filling her. Where was she?
Sitting up, she felt the fur fall away, again not the expected silk sheets she was used to. Her eyes widened seeing herself naked, just as the memories swooshed in, her hands rising to cover her mouth. She was in a cave. She was taking part in Tol Dar. A giggle spluttered up from between her fingers. She was no longer a virgin. She was Cadell’s queen by every possible meaning of the word. Letting herself drop back into the make-shift bed, heat bloomed within. She was in love, and what was more, he was in love with her. Her heart swelled with this knowledge. Her head turned looking for him even as her hands patted the empty place beside her. She was alone, a sense of loss invading her. Where was he?
The sound of feet approaching saw her head swing around just in time to see Cadell himself appear, something swinging from his hands. She heard his small groan as he dropped whatever he carried onto a small outcrop of rock before moving to quickly join her. His hands cupped her face, dragging her mouth to his, “Good morning my love.”
His words curved her lips into a large grin, her hands covering his, “Good morning my King”, her response seeing his eyes shine with pride as he smoothed her hair from her face.
“No. I will always be your slave Tialla because you will always be the queen of my heart. Others may call me their king, but I wish you to only ever call me your love.”
Her arms flew around his neck as she nodded. “I can do that”, the words whispered against his ear with reverence. She felt a shudder from him before he pulled back slightly to look closely at her. “I was not sure how you would feel this morning”, his features contorting into a grimace. “I meant to go easy on you, but…”
Giggling, she allowed herself to once more fall back onto their bed, a throaty purr leaving her, “Never go easy on me my love. I am tougher than I look.” Now her smooth brow furrowed as she looked closer at him. “Where have you been?”, a small pout on her lips. “And why did you not wake me?”
Chuckling, he lay alongside her, leaning in to trail his mouth down her neck, “I woke hours ago, and I decided to get breakfast for you as a surprise.”
At the thought of food, she felt her stomach rumble, the realisation hitting her that after a long walk to the cave neither had eaten, yet both had definitely expended a lot of energy through the night. She felt her insides warm at his consideration, his tongue now tantalizing the small hollow where her neck and shoulder joined, sending tremors through her. Turning her nose towards him, she inhaled him before frowning. He smelled fresh, washed, a throaty laugh leaving her. “Why do you smell so clean?”
Cadell pulled back, a smile on his mouth. “I showered. I found a section of the waterfall that was perfect for you, so I tested it first.” His brows rising and falling, “I don’t want my queen to go off me do I?”
Now her eyes widened, “Really?”
He nodding in confirmation, his eyes sparkling with fun, “Don’t think I didn’t see the different soaps you managed to slide into that bag. I want this home of ours for the next week to be comfortable for you.”
Tialla released a long happy sigh. “To think that I feared that I might spend Tol Dor living under a bush somewhere trying to keep my spoilt husband-to-be from getting eaten by some animal”, her lips curving into a wicked smile. “Or not saving him, depending on his attitude.” Pushing herself half up, her look was quizzical, “Your father must have been a very different king from most. The princes I met would think not having a servant to pull down their bed was living rough.”
Cadell’s features seemed to grow more serious as he shook his head, wariness in his eyes, “My father was not a king Tialla. I don’t come from royal blood.”
“But you are king of Karok?”
His shoulders shrugged as he nodded. “Yes. But only because I overturned the previous ruler,” He looked away, his body stiffening, “I’m sorry. I thought that you would know all of this”, his head dropping slightly as he seemed to stare at something on the bed, his brows drawn tightly together, a strain now in his tone. “The fact is that I am not even originally from Karok. I wonder if this changes your feelings for me.” Now his head turned to her, his expression fierce, yet she could see a vulnerability there too. “Does it make a difference to you that I am not from royal blood Tialla?”
Pushing herself straight, her arms flew around him, “NO! I have dealt with those from royal blood Cadell. They are mostly self-serving, selfish and all things that I despise. You are honourable, kind, protective and you are the man I love. As far as I am concerned a man’s worth is in his character. These other kingdoms would do well with a leader like yourself, and I love you.”
She felt him cling to her before he pulled back slightly, love radiating from him. “I love you too”, the pair staring at each other before her stomach rumbled, both laughing as their foreheads met, Cadell’s fingers gently stroking her cheek. “Well this leader better feed his future wife before she turns into a spitting animal.”
Snorting out a derisive sound she gave him a quick kiss before cocking her head slightly, “So if you are not from Karok, where are you from?”
She felt him tense as he blew out a breath, his eyes sombre as he answered, “Drakel.”
next installment August 12th