FAETED LOVERS (10 Chapters) – C. Swallow

Faeted Lovers -·=»‡«=·- Chapter 4 -·=»‡«=·-
I lead the way into the City of Bird Song. I expect Vlaric and Vladimir to continue conversing with me, but I find that I’m left out of whatever murmurings they speak to each other about while strolling behind me. As for making an effort to get to know me, neither of them seem to know what to say, or ask.
I’m not sure if it’s because they’re rude, or just hungry men. I consider taking them to the Inn Dorkas and I help run during the week, but I decide to take them somewhere a bit nicer. I’m sure they have more coins to spare, so I take them to a luxury Inn by the city water way. It wasn’t much of a river, but it held a flow from a dam nearby. It helps feed fresh water through steadily. It also helped keep the centre of the city fresh.
“I’ll wait outside,” I murmur as I step to the side of the entrance of the Inn and hold out my arm, motioning for Vlaric and Vladimir to enter.
Both of them stop in front of me, hands on the handle of their swords while they’re sheathed.

“Mona,” Vlaric starts off so I focus on him. He’s blinking and trying to think of what to say.

When he doesn’t come up with the right words, I glance to Vladimir and he’s also thinking with furrowed brows. After a while, the silence gets awkward.
“Forget about it, clearly you never wanted my company in the first place,” I snap, “You should both have returned to the army boys than decided to walk with me to the city. Are all men dumb brutes after their balls drop?”
“Mona! Keep that loose tongue steady, before someone puts a fist through your pretty nose and it’s crooked forever,” Vlaric shakes his head, “You really are asking for more lessons?”
“He’s joking, Mona,” Vladimir cuts in, “Don’t take him seriously, Mona. He’s just riling you up… Mona.”
“Stop. Why do you keep saying my name like that?” I snap at Vladimir, “That makes me uncomfortable.”
“It’s a nice name,” Vlaric sticks up for him, “Mona. Mon…aaaah, well… pretty enough.”
“Just. Go eat. This is the nicest Inn. I’m going home,” I snap, trying to walk past them, Vlaric and Vladimir both grab my elbows and push me back when I try to walk through.

“Ah, ah,” Vladimir chuckles, “Mona, are you being defensive because you don’t have any money?”
I gulp, “…no,” I hesitated too long, shit.
“Mona!” Vlaric suddenly screams my name, grinning because everyone is hearing my name being spoken in that bark of his, “Get. In. The. Inn. Now. That’s an order. Now. You… whore.”
Wow, Vlaric was so funny trying to embarrass me… were all young men as cringe inducing as this?
Regardless, I take the challenge to his insult. I jump a step forward, getting on my tippy toes and trying to face up to Vlaric’s height.
“Don’t call me such a disgusting word!” I hiss.
“…then don’t ever dress like one again,” Vlaric warns me, in a quiet, private tone, suddenly reminding me of my revealing corset last night.
My stomach turns, his little growl is…. damn, it’s kind of sexy…? and I wish I didn’t enjoy it so much.
“I look like a sack of pumpkins in this outfit, so shut, your, brute, mouth,” I snap each word.
“Mona,” Vlaric continues, only repeating my name incessantly since I mentioned it was annoying coming from Vladimir, “We’ll be gone by nightfall so don’t make this entire afternoon about us disciplining you. Please?”
I take a step back, shocked and not by his last words. By his first.
“Nightfall?” I whisper.
“Don’t think about it,” Vladimir grabs my elbow and hauls me inside the Inn. While I’m in a daze, I’m sat by a fire on a polished table and Vladimir and Vlaric order food while I sit alone for a moment.
No. I didn’t want them to leave tonight. What would I do? All I had wanted was my friends and once they left, I’d be stuck with Dorkas. My only motivation to live, as dark as it was, was the hope of being with these boys and Missy one day again.

I had been an orphan at seven, when my entire family was killed in a raid during the end of the war. I didn’t see most of it and besides, I was too traumatised to remember most of the details. Dorkas strung me together with Vlaric, Vladimir and Missy. She took us four stray children under her wing into her make shift orphanage. It used to have more kids, all had been bought, except for me. I stayed with Dorkas to help her.
She was all I knew since my friends were taken. A source of food, shelter… but now that I had met with Vlaric and Vladimir again, the thought of them leaving… another 11 years passing… I couldn’t do that again.
They might die in battle. I might die of disease or accidental infection. Life was moving on too quickly. I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to leave them.
Vlaric and Vladimir sit opposite each other while my back is to the wall, my eyes glazed over as I’m in deep thought.
“They did our city up nice, didn’t they?” Vlaric asks Vladimir, “Shame my favourite parts were changed.”
“I think the Guard here is shit, it could be sacked with ease. No wonder Rexion made us come back to check out the borders,” Vladimir sighs, drinking some ale, “You know, Mona, our next stop is the Church they forced Missy into.”
“Oh, that’s right,” Vlaric adds, “Rexion wants us to get initiated into his faith. Like hell we’ll let that happen, but at least Missy will most likely be there to make it more bearable. It’s one town over.”
“I want to come –” I start off weakly and Vlaric seemed to have guessed those words would eventually pop out of my mouth because he jumps right over the top of me.
“Listen here, Mona. We’re on a mission that’s all battle, all blood, all shit and all brutes. You can’t even begin to imagine how messy it gets sometimes or how messy it’s becoming. Missy, like you, is lucky to be in that church, away from what’s going to happen when we get what we want.”
I don’t care ‘what’s going to happen’ or what he means. I had nothing here.
“I want to come,” I say it a bit more firmly.
You don’t understand,” Vlaric snarls to match me.
“I want to come!” I yell back.
Vlaric purses his lips and glances at Vladimir, before leaning right over, cupping a hand to my ear and then whispering only for me, “We’re on a mission… of treason… it’s nothing but fatalities with what we’ve planned. It’s straight revenge. Blood. Murder. Rexion killed your family, killed my family, killed Vladimir’s family. Do you understand now?
Vlaric pulls back after hissing these secrets into my ear.
“What did you tell her?” Vladimir asks, raising his cup.
“What she needs to know so she stays put –”
“I want to come,” and I wouldn’t stop repeating it until it sunk in.
“You –” Vlaric almost goes off again, but Vladimir jumps in over the top of both of us.
“She’s comin’… look in her sweet, sweet eyes,” Vladimir chokes on some ale as he tries to sip but it goes down the wrong way, “Hear it in her voice?” he coughs through it.
Vlaric listens to Vladimir, which just makes me more angry but I keep it in and just cross my arms.
I sit and stare at the bar, keeping in most of my thoughts to myself. They were thoughts I’d rather share when I was drunk and not so sober.
A servant drops off bread and cheese and both men dig in.
“Fine,” Vlaric snaps between murdering the loaf of warm bread with his big vicious bites.
“…what’s fine?” I whisper and I watch Vlaric rip off both bread and cheese to put down a small amount in front of me.
“Daily rations,” Vlaric wipes his mouth, “That’s that.”
“Here we go…” Vladimir smirks even though he rolls his eyes.
“So?” I shrug.
“Your toilet is a hole in the dirt while everyone watches if they got nothing better to do,” Vlaric continues, “Any time you’re not next to us, someone might rape you.”
“Give me a dagger and we’ll see about that – ”
“Horse riding six hours a day or at night, minimum,” Vlaric snaps.
“I’ll run that if I have to, I’m fit,” I snap.
“Rexion has a special initiation for women who tag along, running naked through the camp while his best warriors chase you and whoever catches you, fucks you and claims you as their personal whore whenever they want you.”
Okay, now that was a bit far.
“I’m a virgin,” I whisper.
“Yeah. Rexion might listen to that, maybe, but… somehow I doubt it,” Vladimir answers this, “Unless she joins as our whore.”
“Why can’t I join as an individual tradesmen who’s offering to be a soldier? Occasionally women fight, it’s not unheard of –”
“Giant. Women. Sure,” Vlaric speaks over me, again, “You’re tiny, Mona.”
“Stop cutting me off, please, Vlaric,” I sit up right and I eat the bread and cheese, trying to keep in my anger.
“If we lose a battle and become captives, you’re likely to be tortured, raped and whored out for the rest of your life,” Vladimir adds, “Unless you escape, in which you might be shot with arrows while you’re running into nowhere with no food and only the skin on your back and maybe a weapon in your hand.”
I chew up my ration and I grab the ale cup off Vladimir. I take a swig and I say nothing.
“Now you have the full picture, you should reconsider, promptly, and never speak so foolishly again,” Vlaric murmurs, clearly irritated.
“I’m going, still, damn all those consequences,” I add, short in my tone.
“Geez. Give us one good reason, Mona,” Vlaric taps his fork, “Convince me. Convince us.”
“The thing you whispered in my ear, that I will not repeat. I can help. As the useless, unsuspecting girl that I am. You need… help… I’ll help,” I look between both of them.
Vladimir slowly nods, seemingly impressed by what I’ve chosen to say.
“…now…” Vlaric almost smirks, “Stubborn brat. I can understand that kind of talk… and fine… you can come, kid.”
“Kid? Don’t reduce me to childlike innocence, I’m grown now –”
“You really haven’t fucked someone yet?” Vladimir asks this, a bit too coyly. He shifts in his seat a bit awkwardly and Vlaric glares at him for being so obvious.
“…no…” I whisper, “Does it matter?”
“I probably would have whipped you if you said otherwise,” Vlaric raises his cup, “To Mona being a virgin!” he yells it so everyone hears, “Good girl… you’re one step to becoming a princess, at least,” Vlaric seems to smirk at his own joke.
“Careful,” I lean my elbows on the table and put my chin in my palms, suddenly filling with quick joy now that they were allowing me to tag along, “I might just become one, one day, and you’ll be eating your words for breakfast as my guard dog.”
Vladimir glares at Vlaric and I don’t understand the looks they are suddenly sharing.
They seem to be… keeping certain emotions under their skin.
But right now, my hopes were so elated, I couldn’t care less what their weird looks were about.
I was joining Rexion’s army. And next? We’d bump into Missy.
Nothing in the world right now could make me any happier.
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