Go To Chapter 4.5
Friday, May 11, 2012
The Warlord's Daughter - Chapter 4
Adira snuck up behind Hemi just to see if she could startle him. “What are you working on?”
Sure enough, Hemi jumped and shouted in surprise. “Adira! I didn't hear you come in here!”
Adira shrugged. “I walk softly, I guess.”
“I'm trying to create a device to cut hay quickly without exerting too much effort,” Hemi explained.
“Is that possible?” Adira wondered.
“So far, no,” Hemi sighed in disappointment.
“Is my new bow ready yet? You've been promising it for days!”
Hemi grinned. “Actually, it is. I finished it this morning.”
“Seriously?!” Adira demanded excitedly. She squealed and threw her arms around Hemi. “Thank you! Can I see it?”
Hemi nodded, the ability to speak had deserted him completely. He pointed to a long cylinder rather than try to figure out how to say, “It's over there.”
Adira pounced on the cylinder, opening it to reveal her beautiful new bow. It was still shorter than she'd like, but it was thick and sturdy. Hemi had even carved it with a vine and leaf pattern, and Adira suddenly realized that was what had taken him so long.
“I love it!” She exclaimed honestly as she bent the wood to string it properly. The tension felt good to her hands.
Hemi looked at his feet to cover his prideful embarrassment. Adira stood in front of him, and bent her head to the side so that she could look him in the face. Her action caught his attention, and he stopped looking at his feet.
“It's gorgeous. I'll cherish it always,” Adira promised, bestowing a light kiss on his lips. “Thank you.” She walked away carrying the bow and quiver of arrows as if they were precious children. She stroked her new bow in admiration as she left.
She spotted Natan a few moments later. “Hey, Natan! How would you like to bring me hunting so I can try out my new bow?”
Natan – as the oldest – felt obligated to accompany her so that she wouldn't get hurt. He nodded. “Let me just get my bow.”
Adira discovered that she loved to hunt. She pictured her prey as enemy soldiers, and prided herself on never missing a shot.
Natan chuckled. “I think you've just filled our larder with enough small game to last half the winter!”
Adira was giddy with pride. “I did really well! I had no idea that I could hunt like this!” Which was mostly true. She'd never really had to hunt before, her days were focused on killing the enemy and conquering the southern kingdom.
“Maybe if you continue to hunt, it'll trigger memories. You obviously had to do this a great deal before... that day...” Natan faltered, not wanting to bring up unpleasant memories.
“Shh...” Adira whispered, a finger to her mouth. “Look, a deer. Should I shoot it?”
“It would be nice to have a deer this winter when we've all been eating mutton for so long that we're about to go crazy,” Natan murmured quietly.
Adira stealthily got into a better position, and then quietly aimed her bow. A second deer appeared out of nowhere, and the two of them bounded off as if playing tag. Adira groaned in disappointment.
“Don't get frustrated. You caught plenty as it is,” Natan assured her. She nodded smiling.
“You're right. Thanks!” She replied cheerfully, kissing him quickly before looking around for another prey.
Natan grabbed her, using one hand to make her look him in the eyes. “Is your kiss serious, or are you just playing with me?”
Adira gulped as she realized that this was one brother she shouldn't tempt. He was old enough to get married and start having sons of his own.
“I... I meant it as a sisterly gesture of affection.”
He sighed and let her go. “Of course you did.”
Adira knew better, but she couldn't help herself. “Why? How did you want me to mean it?”
Natan groaned. He mentally argued with himself, but then seemed to come to a decision. He lifted her into his arms and backed her into a tree. His kiss was possessive... hungry... It was Adira's turn to groan.
What is this longing? She wondered. In all the time she had been around men, she'd learned enough to know that men were practically addicted to women, but never once had anyone explained to her what women felt when around men. She rather gathered that they found men to be a necessary nuisance, and the only way to have children, but this felt altogether different.
She didn't know how to handle these new feelings, so she panicked. “Natan!” She cried out after turning her head away. “Please stop this!” Before I have to hurt you!
Natan panted heavily. “Why? I know you want me too. I can feel it! Your kiss was not that of a sister...”
“Natan, I don't know what I want!” Adira didn't want to have to say this since it wasn't true, but he thought it was, so... “After what those men did...”
Natan immediately felt like the worst bastard who ever lived. He set her down. “You're right. Of course you're confused. I'm sorry...”
“It's... fine. I'm sorry too. I didn't know you felt this way about me.”
Natan chuckled. “I didn't realize I felt this way until you kissed me.”
Adira looked away. Truth be told, she was more than half curious to find out what happened next.
“I guess now I know why our father never wanted to adopt girls before,” Natan murmured.
The two of them carried her various prey home in silence. Each was preoccupied by their own thoughts. A good half of Adira's thoughts were of kissing Natan again.
She'd kissed Tobin when he presented her with a pretty yet functional dress one day, and she'd kissed Marek when he'd made her a delicious pastry, so she'd now kissed them all. Most of them reacted as if they wanted to kiss her in return, but none had dared.
Until now, Adira had thought it fun to toy with them, but now she realized that she had feelings for all of them. She really did feel like she was part of their family. Yet, there was more to it; she just didn't know exactly what.
That night, after everyone else was asleep, she climbed onto the roof to practice her skills until she was fairly certain that it was after midnight. The nights were downright frigid this late into fall, but she didn't care. She sat down, balancing on the very top of the roof as she wrapped her arms around her knees.
Time passed in silence – aside from the chirping of nocturnal insects – finally, she sighed. “Happy birthday to me.”
A noise startled her. A moment later, Amin climbed onto the roof with her. He wobbled a little as he came to her, but soon he was sitting at her side.
“Do you mean that you remember?” He asked.
Adira was speechless for a moment. “No... I've just been thinking lately that I don't remember! For all I know, my birthday could have been any one of these days that I've spent here. I wanted to have a day of my own...” The lie felt terrible on her tongue.
She frowned at him, clearly wondering what he was doing up here with her. Why isn't he asleep?
Amin blushed and looked away. “One day, I went to the outhouse and I noticed you on the roof. You seemed to be balancing. I figured that it was your way of healing or something. After that, I happened to wake up a couple of times when you'd come back inside. I realized that you come out here fairly often.”
Adira almost panicked when he said he'd seen her, but then she realized that he'd only seen her cooling off after a workout. He hadn't seen her practice her fighting skills. “And tonight?”
“I went to the outhouse and I noticed you balancing again. I lay down and wondered why you do that. Time passed. Enough that I got worried. So, I sat under the window to listen for you. Then I heard you wish yourself a happy birthday.”
Adira smiled and placed a hand on his cheek. “Amin, it's sweet of you to worry about me, but you really don't have to.”
“I can't help it,” Amin confessed, and then kissed her. His kiss was tender and caused her heart to race. He wrapped his arms around her, and pressed his body closer to hers.
Adira's lips parted without any thought from her. When he was done kissing her, she immediately wanted another. They continued to kiss forever, but eventually Adira pushed him away. “
“Oh Amin...” she whispered breathlessly. “This is wrong! You are like a brother to me...”
“Do you really feel that way?” Amin wondered.
“I... don't know,” Adira confessed. She desperately wanted to kiss him some more and turned her head away until she could control herself. She took a different approach. “Amin... what if I really am a purebred lady? What if my true family comes looking for me? I can't let myself have feeling for anyone until I –” avenge my father's death!
“Know for sure who you are?” Amin supplied helpfully.
Amin pulled her as close as possible so that he could whisper in her ear. “But you do know who you are. I know you do.”
Adira gaped in astonishment.
He smirked as if her gaping confirmed his suspicions. “There was always too much depth to you. You always seem to be hiding something. You never say what you are really thinking. The others don't notice it, but I do. You've done a good job of pretending. You even have father fooled, but you can't fool me.”
“Oh Amin...” Adira didn't know what to say. She refused to tell him the truth, but she didn't want to lie to him anymore. Suddenly, her confused feelings for him seemed like a much safer topic.
He waited patiently for her to say something, but she never did. The silence stretched out until both were sure dawn was approaching. Finally, he sighed.
“Let's go in before we catch a cold,” he suggested.
Adira nodded, and then tugged on his sleeve to prevent him from leaving her side just yet. “Amin?”
“Yes?” He whispered, hoping that she was about to tell him everything.
“One last time,” she muttered just before she kissed him. The kiss embodied everything that they would apparently never do again, and Amin wanted it to be memorable.
Afterward, they climbed back into the loft, found their own beds, and tried to sleep despite the thoughts of each other that would not stop.
Go To Chapter 4.5
Go To Chapter 4.5