‘Heart of Glass.’
Picture - #11
Disclaimer: Characters. Theirs.
Snow bellowed into the inn I sat in. Its patrons erupted into curses and disapproving grunts, which only calmed once the door was firmly closed on the storm.
I looked up to the hooded figure that had entered. Watching, as they moved to a table by the musicians at the back. By the way they sat, I knew it was a warrior. Even without seeing their face or the body hidden beneath the cloak, I knew they were checking for danger and exits. I knew, because I had done the same.
I was totally surprised when the hood was pulled back, revealing a young blonde woman. She rose, pulling her cloak free, and I found myself surprised again by the weaponry she wore and the tattoo upon her back. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen a woman warrior. Hell I was one. But this one seemed different. How? I didn’t know.
When her eyes locked onto mine I wasn’t surprised, she would have felt me watching. I gave a slight nod to let her know I wasn’t a threat. After a moment where her gaze studied my weaponry and me, she returned the nod. Then her attention went to the girl who approached for her order.
I sat back, turning my eyes away, watching from the corner of my vision. I was intrigued, I wanted to know why her eyes looked so empty? Why was one so young, full of nothing? What was her tale?
I should have left by now, gone on my way. But I couldn’t seem to leave this stranger. I watched as she picked at her meal, only eating the bare minimum. The wine I noticed she didn't have a problem with, she was already on her third. I frowned, for some reason her drinking didn’t seem to fit.
Three candle marks later, it amazed me she wasn’t face down on the floor. A drunken warrior missed danger and I found myself staying to make sure she was safe.
The Inn was emptying, only a few remained, everyone else had gone home for solstice. But still, I stayed. My eyes went to her again, she was staring into the fire across the room. I wondered what she saw there? Whatever it was wasn’t good. I could feel my insides tightening, as anger filled her and she took another drink.
The musicians started their song. The music seemed to break into her tormented thoughts, she tilted her head listening. I found myself doing the same. I recognised it, ‘Heart of Glass.’ A solstice love song.
I listened to the singer.
I give my pledge, my heart, my soul, my dreams.
My solstice gift to you, my love…forever in eternity.
An anguished sound made my eyes snap to her. I wasn’t prepared for the emotion, which crashed over her face, one of agony, it filled her jade eyes and sent tears to spill. Her head fell forward into her hands, hunching her over the table. The stuttered movement of her body told me she was sobbing, but she made no sound.
The rawness of the scene made me want to weep.
The approach of the serving girl towards her made me click my tongue for attention. I could see the girl was concerned, I shook my head. The girl nodded and left the stranger to her sorrow.
I turned back, unprepared for the tortured eyes locked on me.
I don’t know how long we stared, I wasn’t conscious of time, just her pain.
She broke the stare rising, pulling on her cloak. Throwing coins down for her meal. I lowered my eyes, feeling guilty for intruding into her sorrow.
I became aware of her nearness and finally found courage to look up. I swallowed, hidden within the shadows of the hood tear filled eyes stood out like gleaming emeralds. A hand was held out, I took it. I felt no sense of danger, just a pull I couldn’t ignore. She smiled.
As she led me from the inn, no words were spoken. I gritted my teeth as the cold assaulted every sense. She led me to the stables. Before the doors were shut her lips were upon mine and I felt the bite of the wood on my back as I was slammed against it. I could taste the wine and for a moment I wanted to stop. She stepped back, lowering the hood so I could see her again. Her eyes searching mine. Then she took my face in her hands and kissed me gently. Suddenly, she pulled me to her almost desperately, her words leaving whispered breaths upon my ear. I shivered.
"Help me feel again."
Her lips returned to mine in force, this time I didn't fight her siren call.
We moved to the hay, clothes quickly gone. It felt like she was everywhere, sometimes harsh, other times so gentle it made me weep. We met passion for passion, need for need, taste for taste. When we were both too exhausted to continue, we clung to each other and slept.
I knew before I opened my eyes to the dawn, she was gone. If it wasn’t for the burn and scent of her on my skin, I would have thought it a dream.
I rose, dressing, it was then I found the scroll. I opened it.
Thank you for this final solstice gift.
I wasn’t sure what she meant, until I remembered the last line of the song.
If your heart is ever shattered, I will mend it so.
My final solstice gift to you. My love…
I smiled, glad in some way I’d helped her.
I tucked the parchment into my tunic and left.
I stopped at the rise of the hill, looking back to the inn. I wondered again, who she was? What was her tale?
As I turned my horse to the road, I knew, I would never know.
Story by: LADYHAWKE
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