Tales of the Kirgeur

Part 28

By: Bluedragon

"Wish you to accompany us to the tavern for ale?" I attempted to ignore Lyliane's ministrations to the cloth on my arm.

"Nothen. Yleminea and Kierian desire speech with us concerning the ceremony. If you wish accompany Tominent, I shall tender your excuses." Salenia looked to me from the cloth in her lap.

"We had wished to discuss the events over ale." I had not voiced my suspicions of Siveruian's daughter. "Perhaps you may join us after you have speech with Kierian."

"I shall, if you have not returned."

"Torienne, if you do not remain still, this needle shall again pierce your flesh." Lyliane warned.

"I believed I was still." I made the mistake of looking to her. "Ouch."

"You have suffered worse." Salenia seemed unsympathetic.

"Not from your sister's hands." I pushed the cloth from my arm. "Needles pierce flesh as well as cloth."

"I shall complete this as you and Tominent bond over ale. Is Iolaine accompanying you?" Lyliane seemed in haste. "Stand down, Tor. You are of little assistance. How did your mother make your attire? You squirm like a fish."

"I am being insulted, am I not?" I stepped off the chair as Tre moved away. She folded the cloth she had been measuring to my legs.

"Nothen, Tor. It is truth." She grinned. "My mother made the attire we wore. She often claimed Tor and Lu would stand without moving only upon their deaths."

"You do tend to squirm, shehala. Even in dreams you move much."

"Then I apologize for my constant movement." I was annoyed. "Perhaps it would be easier if I were not present."

"Perhaps it would be." Sal replied. "We shall complete it before we meet Kierian and Yleminea."

"Then I shall ask if Tominent wishes to consume the evening meal at the tavern."

"I shall join you, Torienne." Iolaine seemed frustrated. He waved Rul away. She sat aside her needle. "It seems we have no use for this."

"In truth, Iolaine, it seems as if we are wished gone. We shall honor this wish." I turned to my companions. "Salenia, if you wish meet us in the tavern, we shall await you. Come, Iolaine."

"I follow." He sounded as frustrated as I felt.

Tominent was in the corridor when we departed the chambers. He turned and followed without conversation. We departed the palace and journeyed to the tavern in Marlkina devoted to the guards and hired swords. It was filled with people, though Tominent located a table with relative ease.

"The two of you seem as if a flock of Ostiopocks are loose in your boots. What is amiss?"

"I know not. We seem of little use for the fitting Lyliane and the others desired for our new attire. It seemed they wished us to depart, so we did." It seemed illogical. The entire situation seemed to lack reason.

"Was it an argument?"

"Nothen. It merely seemed as if they wished to be alone." Iolaine replied. "It was if they wished to be alone when Kierian and Yleminea arrived."

"Tell me, Tominent, does Yleminea know you are cylinge?"

"She does not. Our parents wished us to join. In truth, it is why I chose the life of a queriane. They are not allowed families, though I was not fit for their life of merely guarding texts."

"Know you if Yleminea is cylinge?"

"I know not. She has been gone several years. I believe she may be, though I have not proof."

"And she desired Salenia to escort her to our companions."

"Torienne, I believe you are jealous. Peace, my friend. Salenia is much in love with you. She would not betray your bond." He attempted to reassure me.

"I trust in my shehala." I trusted not in Yleminea. Though I was raised with several siblings, I did not share with ease. "We are bound."

"It is a true one. I feel much for Lyliane as well. I trust in her."

"Perhaps I shall one day find my shehala."

"Shehale." I laughed. "I assume it would be male, therefore it would be shehale, though only if you were bound as well as in love."

"What is the difference?" He seemed interested.

"A shehala or shehale is one you are bound to as well as joined with or in love with. We believe it to be a mystical bond that goes beyond love. It is rare, though it does exist. It can occur between males and females as well as same gender pairings. At times it is as though you can sense your shehala's or shehale's thoughts and desires. It is though you are balanced. Your shehala or shehale possesses qualities you lack. Though you can live without a shehale, it is said the bond is worth any costs. It binds you closer than sibs born at the same hour, closer than a warrior and his blade, and closer than a parent and child." It seemed a bad attempt. I knew not how to explain it. "Though contrary to legend, you shall not die if your shehale is bid join the gods before you."

"There is a like bonding in this realm. It is rare and blessed by our gods. It is seen as a great honor to be so bound." He reached across the table. "Have no fear. Only a fool would disregard the bond."

"I believe I pledged to purchase the first round of ale. Perhaps we should bid a wench deliver our food and drink." I redirected the conversation. "I shall return."

The man behind the wooden separation seemed gladdened to accept the request for food and ale. He promised prompt delivery of both. I handed him the required silver and returned to the table. Tominent and Iolaine seemed much in conversation. They noticed not my return until I reclaimed my seat.

"What have we chosen to discuss?"

"Iolaine was explaining the surprise you have planned for Kierian. It seems as if it will be a joining unlike any this realm has witnessed."

"In truth, it shall be a ceremony unlike any in my homeland. It shall be a true combination of the two realms."

"It shall be a wondrous ceremony." Iolaine commented. "You are to stand with Kierian?"

"I am."

"What duties shall you be required to perform?" Tominent asked. "I know of the duties I must attend."

"I know not. According to custom, Kierian and I would spend a full day and night fasting, in prayer and in cleansing. Ancient custom would dictate other duties, though we have not utilized them in generations. They were abandoned with our ancient homeland." I explained what I knew of them. "Those customs bid those guarding the ones to be joined would require more. Often the close family would not watch with the pair. Friends would join them in isolation. I know not what occurred. If any in my homeland know of the events, they are not spoken of to us."

"You will be alone with Kierian for a full day and night?" Iolaine seemed surprised. "It was well you asked Salenia's permission."

"Why did you ask for Salenia's permission before accepting?"

"I will be with Kierian for a full day and night. It seemed proper to ask Sal." I shrugged my shoulders. It seemed logical.

"Perhaps there is more. Kierian is a friend of your youth, correct?"

"She is."

"Then why would Salenia object?" Tominent seemed perplexed.

"It merely seemed proper. Would you wish your shehale to spend much time with a companion of his youth?" I wished not betray Kierian's trust in me by telling him the full truth concerning our relationship.

"Nothen. I do not share well." He laughed. "It is understandable. Kierian is attractive for those who find females desirable."

"She is, though I shall deny that if Lyliane inquires. I believe it safer." Iolaine laughed. "I think Salenia and Lyliane are much alike."

"I think so as well." I too gave voice to my mirth.

"You requested three meals?" A young boy carried a heavy tray and placed it on our table. "I have stew, beef and bread. Three ales also?"

"Aight. Our gratitude." I handed him a copper. "We shall require three more ales after the meal."

"I shall deliver them." He reclaimed the tray and departed.

"My gratitude for the meal, Torienne. This is well prepared." Tominent tasted of the stew. "It is as good as any in the palace."

"In truth, I must agree." It seemed we had not suffered for the lack of a meal in my chambers. "Why think you they wished us gone?"

"Perhaps we were unable to remain standing without moving." Iolaine suggested.

"I suppose we were not cooperative." I laughed. We had been pierced several times by needles and caused much frustration to the others. "It is my nature. I cannot halt it."

"Nor can I."

"I cannot either. I cause much frustration in those who design my attire. Perhaps it is the mark of a warrior." Tominent raised his mug. "To warriors, may we learn to stand without moving."

"To warriors. May we not cause frustration in those who design our attire." I touched my mug to his.

"May we purchase clothing cut to fit." Iolaine added his mug to ours.

"That is one to drink to." I drained my mug. They did likewise.

We finished our meal with relish. It made a nice change from the fare at the palace. It was well prepared, common food. It was quite unlike the richer fare we consumed each day. We spoke little as we ate, concerned more with the excellent quality of the meal. When it was completed, we returned our empty plates to the serving boy with some sadness. Fortune was with us, he brought with him a well made pie. It tasted as if my grandfather had prepared it. Such thoughts made me wish to be with him. I was anxious to be near to him again.

"My mother was a sister to yours?"

"She was. They shared the same mother, though they have different fathers. It as my kinship to Triennia is. We have the same father, though we have different mothers."

"Then your grandfather would not be mine?" He seemed saddened.

"I believe he shall not view the difference." I answered honestly. He marked no difference between the children of my mother and the children of my father's first wife. It was the way of his people.

"I anticipate the journey. I long for it, I confess." He seemed as enthusiastic as Sevianth.

"It shall be a long journey." I replied as the serving boy returned for the empty plates and another round of ale. "This is for the journey."

"This is for the nights beneath the stars." Tominent raised his mug.

"This is for the sand in our bedrolls." Iolaine displayed his humor.

"In truth, we shall see much sand in our bedrolls for a moon at the least." I estimated the length of the journey. It seemed accurate.

"It shall be a worthy journey." Tominent regained his optimism. "Tell me of your homeland."

We drank three more rounds as I explained customs and traditions of my homeland. Iolaine and Tominent were most interested. I could not fault them. They would soon be inhabitants of a different realm. Our customs would seem as strange to them as the customs of the realm of the Jilhsaed seemed to me.

"Tell me, Tominent, when you were training for the queriane, were your lessons all in battle?"

"We were taught many lessons in language and scribing as well. There was one in my group who excelled at scribing. He had the ability to mimic many various hands. He once mimicked our instructor's scroll and caused much trouble. He meant no harm, though he was reprimanded and made to leave training."

"What did he scribe?" My thoughts seemed unable to form a coherent pattern.

"Scribe?" Tominent seemed confused. "Oh, he scribed a false lesson. It was greatly amusing, though I remember not all." He shook his head. "Perhaps we have had too much ale."

"Nothen. We require more." Iolaine bid the serving boy return. "Another round."

"We did pledge to wait for Salenia." The words seemed heavy.

We purchased rounds in turn. We spoke of many occurrences both present and past. The more consumed, the more our tales contained hilarity. We were companions, in truth. We trusted in one another as only those who had shed blood together, had spent time together could. It was the mark of the esteem we placed in one another. We kept no secrets hidden. It was the elusive bonding of brotherhood. We ceased to exist as companions and began to exist as family.

"It was bought. There was a place near to the school."

"Mine was bought as well. Siveruian bid one attend the duty."

"Mine was not so. It was a brief encounter, though pleasurable. She knew much and was pleased to share." Iolaine grinned. "I recall it with great pleasure."

"As do I. She was very skilled."

"Who was so skilled?" The voice behind me stilled my tongue.

"You, of course." I attempted to stand. It failed. "You were to meet us after you met with Kierian and Siveruian's daughter."

"Yleminea. Torienne, my name is Yleminea." She stood near to Sal.

"That is the one. Yleminea."

"Keytheda, I believe you are intoxicated." Sal seemed surprised. "I have not seen you in such a condition."

"We have purchased seven rounds of ale."

"Nine." Iolaine corrected.

"Ten, I believe." Tominent attempted to assist. It did not.

"Ten rounds?" Nothen. It did not assist the situation. "Torienne, have you ever consumed as much ale as you have this night?"

"I know not. I feel as if all is well." I attempted to stand again. I managed to keep my feet. "See?"

"Aight. Come. Let us return to the palace. You need rest."

"Nothen. Stay. We were having speech of." I reclaimed my seat. "We were conversing on images we recalled from our youth." I pulled her onto my lap. "Wish you an ale?"

"Join us for an ale at the least. Yleminea, sit." Tominent fared little better than I under the influence of the ale.

"I think not. It would not seem proper for a chamberlain to join intoxicated warriors. It does not seem proper for two warriors held in such esteem to intoxicate themselves in a common tavern with a servant." She did not seem to be at her ease. "Salenia, perhaps we should escort these three to the palace."

"Perhaps you are correct." Salenia released herself from my hold. "Come, Torienne."

"Aight. I shall return to the palace, if you desire it so." I accepted her hand and reclaimed my feet.

"I desire it so. Iolaine, Lyliane is much concerned." She assisted him to his feet. Yleminea assisted Tominent, though he was unsuccessful. He lost his balance and landed on the floor. Iolaine and I could not contain our mirth. "Torienne, you are not assisting this."

"Aight. Here, cousin." I offered my arm to Tominent. It was a near occurrence. We avoided a collision, though it was not with grace. We managed, between the two of us, to stand against the tavern wall. "You show grace, cousin."

"As you show your strength." He laughed. "I believe we are intoxicated."

"Aight. I believe you are correct."

"You are both correct. Come, Torienne." Sal wrapped her arm around my shoulder. "You shall be greatly over hung in the morn."

"When is the ceremony?" I know not why I asked. I believe my thoughts wandered along various paths. I had no control of them.

"Two days hence." Yleminea answered.

"Then you are not yet chamberlain. You were able to join us for ale." Tominent commented.

"It is near enough." Yleminea remained aloof, though she assisted Tominent on the journey to the palace. "Why did you choose tonight to be intoxicated? There is much we need attend to on the morrow."

"It was not intentional." Iolaine protested. "We merely were awaiting Salenia."

"Aight. I was bid wait, and I shall wait until she bids me halt." It seemed reasonable. "It is well. I have caused her to wait long. Fortune is with us, we need not wait."

"Torienne, you make no sense. It is a pity. My father spoke much of your intelligence. I have seen no sign of it."

"Wisdom is not found in ale. Regardless, I am skilled in battle. My shehala has much wisdom." I appreciated not her comments.

"Wisdom in your partner is not wisdom in you, regardless of your warrior bonds."

"I have not."

"Tor. Calm." Salenia attempted to calm me. "We shall discuss this when you wake."

"I am not in my dreams."

"You shall be soon. Let us return to our chambers. It shall be well in the morning, though you shall feel greatly over hung." She opened the doors to our chambers. "We shall meet you on the morrow after the morning meal, Yleminea."

"I await it with anticipation, Salenia." I liked not her smile. Had I the ability, the sobriety, I believe I would have growled. In truth, I believe I attempted it.

"Sal, find you Yleminea attractive?" I asked as we entered the chambers.

"Torienne, you are speaking in a loud tone, quiet yourself." She advised. "We shall discuss all on the morrow."

"Nothen. I wish to know now."

"Some perhaps may find her attractive. I see only you, though at the moment, you leave much to desire."

"That is an insult. Though perhaps there is truth in it." I relaxed into the mattress. "I had not intended to consume much ale. It seemed to happen without my approval."

"I know how it can occur. Rest and you shall dream through the poisons of the ale departing from you. I shall remain near to you." She smoothed the clothes on the mattress.

"My gratitude, keytheda. I believe I shall walk the paths of my dreams with heavy tread." She relaxed into my embrace. "I feel much love for you, though I am unable to display it at the moment."

"It is not needed, shehala. I know."

"It is well you do." They were the last words I could give voice.

"Shehala, tell me there are drums near to the chambers." The rays of the sun light the room and caused my eyes to water. "Salenia?" The chambers appeared to be empty.

"Torienne? Need you speak so loudly?" Iolaine moaned as I entered the chamber for meals.

"I feel dead. Are we?"

"If we are not, perhaps we should be." He collapsed into a chair and held his head in his hands. I mimicked his posture. It did little to ease the ache in my head.

"Perhaps we should send for a mediacio. With fortune, they can heal this pounding in my skull." It took great effort to pour a mug of viniare.

"We are all who are here. There is none to bid fetch one."

"Then drink this and we shall attempt to discover their whereabouts." The viniare was cool and did much to ease the dry condition of my throat. "Perhaps we shall bathe as well. I feel as if I am covered in filth."

"As do I. I shall bathe in haste." He stood. "I have consumed a mug of viniare."

"I shall allow you to do so." I leaned back into the embrace of the chair. He was true to his word. He returned in haste. "My gratitude, Iolaine."

"It eased the effects, though it did not vanquish them."

"I shall return in haste as well." I was true to my word. The water eased the knot in my stomach, though it did little to ease the pounding in my skull.

"Shall we depart?"

"We shall." He stood at my response. "Let us locate the mediacios."

"Shall we bid Tominent to accompany us?"

"Aight. He should feel as bad as we."

We departed from the chambers and journeyed to Tominent's. He agreed readily and appeared to feel as bad as we. He seemed grateful for the bid to join us. In truth, we were the only ones who gave one another sympathy.

"Where are the others?"

"I know not." I replied. "Iolaine, know you?"

"I know not. None were in the chambers when I woke. We have missed the morning meal, though it is not yet time for the midday meal."

"Let us find the mediacios then we shall journey to the library. Perhaps Tre is there. She would know of the other's whereabouts."

"This is the chamber of healing. There are several mediacios within." Tominent opened the large wooden door. "We seek attention."

"What ails you?"

"Interesting choice. Ale caused our condition. Know you how to ease the effects?" I stepped inside. It seemed a large room with many mattresses.

"I have healed you of great harms and yet you come to me to ease the effects of ale?" The mediacio who had tended my wounds stepped forward. He seemed to be hiding his mirth. In truth, I believe he laughed at the sight of us.

"Aight. We do. Can you?"

"I have the ability. Here." He directed us to chairs near to the line of mattresses against the far wall. "Sit." He mixed three mugs of foul smelling brew. "This shall heal the effects of ale."

"My gratitude." It tasted worse than it smelled. However, it did ease the effects before I had drained half the mug. "You have my gratitude, this is wondrous." The pain in my skull receded until I noticed it not.

"It is so. It taste worse than any I have consumed, though it seems wondrous." Tominent stood. "Our gratitude."

"In truth, I feel no effects." Iolaine offered his arm to the mediacio. "I shall recall this always. Wounds pain us, though the effects of ale are worse."

"I agree." I stood. "My offer is open. You know how to locate me if you wish. Let us find the others. There is much we need attend."

"There is. Perhaps if we locate Kierian, we shall discover Salenia's whereabouts." Tominent gestured for us to follow. "We shall seek them in Kierian's chambers."

"Nothen. We shall first seek a worker of leather. It is for a gift we wish for Soliumant." It seemed reasonable. "If they are attending duties, we should as well."

"Then we shall attend our duties. Workers of leather are in the area Kespearen attends his duties. We shall journey there, if you wish."

"I wish it so. We have need of one skilled."

"Then we shall ensure we discover one."

Though the court was celebrating Soliumant's ascension to Jilhsaed, the workers of metal, leather, minarina and cloth attended their duties. The vast chamber below the palace was filled with workers and their projects. The heat was intense. I doubted not it was greater in the chamber than the heat from the sun and desert above.

"Lerine, we have a challenge for you." Tominent greeted a slightly built man. The man was not bearded and seemed in his youth. As we walked closer, his true age appeared. He had perhaps the years of my father.

"Tominent, it is rare you journey here now. As a boy, you were always near to us as we designed weapons and leather. What need have you?" The man wiped sweat covered hands on his pants before offering his arm to us. "You are Torienne?"

"I am. This is Iolaine."

"Well met. What is the challenge offered? I shall be pleased to assist. There is much honor in attending duties for warriors held in such esteem."

"We have need of a saddle and bridle in the same design used in my homeland. Need you a sample?" I asked. "Iolaine, perhaps you can fetch my saddle."

"I shall require one to pattern the other after. Pity. I had assumed it was a challenge." The man grinned to illustrate his jest.

"It shall be a challenge if you are able to design the saddle I have in my thoughts. I wish changes. It is a gift for Soliumant."

"I shall return in haste, Torienne." Iolaine bowed before he departed.

"Before I view the completed saddle and bridle, what changes wish you to make in the design?" Lerine pulled a scroll from a stool near to his work area. "Can you place your thoughts here?"

"Perhaps." I accepted the quill and attempted to draw my thoughts. "Does this seem reasonable to you?"

"It does. I can envision your design with ease. Marvelous. It shall be a challenge, for it is not like any I have viewed in this realm. It is near to the Poulantie, I believe."

"Aight. Know you the Poulantie?" His correct assumption surprised me.

"Little. I journeyed there once in my youth. My father was a trader of silk and spices. He allowed me to accompany him." He held the scroll to the light of a fire near to his work area. "I shall be able to give this life. It shall require two days. Is that sufficient?"

"Aight. It is more than I had assumed."

"Shall I create only one? Wish you more?"

"I wish it so, though my coinage is limited." In truth, we had spent much on attire for the ceremonies.

"I shall require only enough for material, if you pledge to include my name in the giving." He paused for thought. "I can purchase material for perhaps three goldens."

"It is well." I handed him the required coinage. Remaining in my pouch was merely enough for the white horse I had seen in market. "Two days shall suffice."

"Then I shall deliver it to your chambers when I have completed them."

"You have my gratitude. I shall await your completed design with anticipation." I offered my arm. "In truth, this realm has many masters of craft."

"I thank you for the compliment. Allow me to return to my duties and I shall begin this project when your companion returns with your saddle. Shall I bid him join you in a specific area?"

"Shall we return to your chambers, Torienne?" Tominent broke his silence. For a moment I had not realized he remained.

"Aight. It is near to the midday meal. Our companions shall return for it. Again, you have my gratitude, Lerine. We shall entrust you with the design and depart so you may work in peace."

"My gratitude for the challenge." He returned to his project.

"Tominent, I hunger. Let us return for the meal."

"I hunger as well. Perhaps the mediacios have healed us fully. It is rare I have the ability to consume much when I am over hung." He laughed.

"It is rare I am over hung. I have consumed as much ale but once before. It was in school I learned of my limits."

"I know of mine, though I cross them often."

"I believe I shall guard against such lapses in the future. It is as though." The sight before my eyes as I opened the door stilled my tongue. "Dagthen. Is there something I need have knowledge of?"

"Tor. You were not in the chambers." Salenia stepped from Yleminea's embrace.

"I was not present. You were so grieved from my absence you sought comfort in another's arms?" The light in the chambers seemed to fade as the pounding in my ears returned. "Yleminea, if you wish to live, you will depart from these chambers."

"Torienne, this is not what it appears to be."

"Did I not tell you to leave?" I placed my hand on the hilt of my sword. "Leave or die."

"Then I shall leave."

"Tor, may I explain?" Sal turned to me. "It is not as it appears, I pledge."

"Tominent, I shall meet you after the meal." I waved him to the door.

"Aight, Torienne. I shall be in my chambers."

"If it was not as it appears, what was it?" I turned to my shehala after I heard the door close behind him.

"Yleminea was merely illustrating a hold often used in this realm."

"This hold required her hand on inappropriate areas of your body?" I knew then my voice was louder than usual. It seemed I had no control through my anger.

"Torienne, keytheda, it was harmless."

"Nothen. It was not harmless. She desires you."

"Nothen, Tor. You are not correct. I know not how you assumed such. You are jealous, though you have no reason."

"I have reason. Yleminea is cylinge and apparently finds you attractive. I do not share well with others."

"Who told you such a tale?"

"A tale? You believe me not." I released a deep breath. "I need regain my temper. I shall be with Kier."

"Torienne, wait." I halted not. I traversed the corridor in haste and halted only at the stairway.

"She is worth more than you are able to provide." Yleminea stepped from the shadows.

"How know you what I am able to provide?" I wished not to have speech with her, though her comments caused me to halt my journey.

"You are the daughter of farmers. Salenia is worth all this realm has to offer."

"My father is a breeder of horses known throughout my homeland and the region of the Poulantie. My mother was an esteemed kirgeur as was my grandmother and as are my mother's sisters. I have much to offer, my love, devotion and I need not explain this to you." I leaned against the wall. "You are the daughter of a chamberlain and a slave. What have you to offer?"

"I have a position of rank. I would treat her as a princess." She mimicked my posture.

"Of your harem, perhaps?"

"As you would say, nothen, Torienne. I would treat her as a jewel. Perhaps better than Soliumant shall treat your companion, Kierian." She smiled. "She is as beautiful as a jewel and as rare."

"Aight. She has great beauty, in truth, though she would not consent to being locking in a chamber with no duties to attend. Her beauty is in form and in spirit. She is a healer as much as she is a kirgeur."

"You claim to be the daughter of kirgeurs, though I have seen no display of your renowned skills."

"Wish you a display? I shall grant one if you desire it." I wished her to desire it. I wished her blood on my sword.

"You are not joined, therefore you have no claim on her. It is the way of our realm."

"We are from a distant land. Salenia and I are bound and such binding has been accepted and blessed by a goddess of our people. Though we may live without one another, the bond makes us as one. The bond is deeper than love, though I doubt you shall understand it. I will say it plain for your understanding. For all who ask, she is my wife, and I will not allow any to attempt to damage the bond between us." My hand rested on the hilt of my mother's sword. I longed to bare steel and view the hue of her blood. I know not what stayed my hand.

"There is no need, shehala." Sal commented from the entrance to the stairway. "I wish not to disregard our bond."

"You have chosen unwisely, Salenia."

"Nothen. I have chosen my heart. Torienne has possessed it for many seasons. It was the only choice, and I regret it not." She crossed to me and laid her hand on my sword arm. "Come, shehala, we have much to discuss."

"Aight. I shall be but a moment behind." I watched as she departed. "Yleminea, if you wish a display, I shall oblige. However, if you wish to attempt disrupt my household again, I shall gladly show you my skills and you shall regret it." I ensured she listened to my threat. "If you will pardon me, I need attend my wife."

"You have my pardon and my apologies. I wish not a display nor shall I attempt again to seduce Salenia."

"It is well. Kirgeurs give only one chance. I am a true kirgeur." I attempted a sincere smile as I departed. I know it failed. I cared not.

"My apologies, Torienne. I realized not her desires." Sal seemed penitent.

"None are needed, shehala. My apologies. I failed to control my anger."

"Nothen, Torienne. You gave vent to passion." She laughed though it seemed weak. "Once you thought you had not the ability."

"If I have the ability, it is from you. Perhaps we are even?"

"I know of a way to make it so. If you have such a desire."

"I have. I desire no more, keytheda."

"It is well, I desire no more than you."

"Salenia, you speak too many thoughts." I pulled her close. In truth, I once believed she gave voice to too many thoughts. I no longer believed it. She had captured my heart and I wished not for its release. I wished only for a life with her. Fortune would grant that wish. I regret not a moment of it.

Continue to part 29

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