number 13

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


A war between factions, and a forbidden love that spring up from the corruption.

Submitted: December 14, 2017

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Submitted: December 14, 2017

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“What do you mean, Cait and Felix are captured? How did you let this happen, you were supposed to only go on a small scouting trip?” I rounded on Julien who took a step back.

“I’m sorry Coryn, they literally came out of nowhere.” Julien said, shifting nervously refusing to meet my eyes.

“What exactly do you carry these for?” I asked verminously grabbing one of my daggers from its sheath on my thigh. Oh right, “To fucking fight and protect them.” I yelled. Julien looked at me,

“It was going to be all of us, I was lucky to get out of the ambush.” He said clenching his fist.

“So, let me get this straight, you left our youngest member and one of our healers in the hands of Grave Shadows, just to save your own skin?” I advanced towards him slowly my fury etched on my face. He gulped and back peddled his hands up. I know it’s bad when I can’t feel my face, I knew my eyes looked like pure ice. I swept my leg underneath his own causing him to fall onto his back. I stared at him a minute more before turning disgustedly away from him. My instincts made me duck as his fist sailed over my shoulder, I turned fluidly my hands coming up and my feet sliding into the familiar ready stance. A small smile played on my face I had to admit I was looking forward to this. He was a sloppy fighter that they’d even send him out with Cait and Felix I’ll never know.  Julien swung at me again, I dodged it easily, I let him get in a few more failed swings before smashing him in the eye. He reeled backwards cursing. Holding his eye, he looked up at me as he braced his other hand on his knee,

“You little bitch, you think you’re all that just because they call you the Retriever.” I smashed my foot into his manhood,

“At least I’m not a spineless cowardly toad like you are Julien.” I said, clenching my fist. I turned away from him again only to hear him say,

“I can’t wait until Axl gets his hands on you, you won’t be so tough then.” I swung around my blood running cold.

“What did you say?” He looked up at me from the ground a dark smile playing on his face,

“You heard me.” He spat. I stopped cold realization donning on me. That ambush they had run into was for me. I was the one that was supposed to have led that scouting party, but I had been called away to deal with a near break in at Sentinel jail.

“It was you, two faced little shit, you’re the mole.” I drew my dagger and slammed it into his skull knocking him out. Grabbing one of his feet I dragged him towards Sentinel Headquarters. I pushed open the heavy door to the meeting room, our leader Kenna who was busy staring into a scrying glass looked up as I came in with Julien literally in tow.

“What the, Coryn?” She asked standing up,

“I found our mole,” I said dropping Julien’s foot and giving his prostrate form a look of contempt and loathing. “Oh and by the way Cait and Felix were taken because of him.” I said. Kenna hurried forward calling for Beck and Salem her two co leaders,

“Take him and put him in Solitary, once Cullen gets back I want everything out of him.” They grabbed Julien roughly and dragged him back through the door. I turned back to Kenna,

“I can’t leave Cait or Felix under Grave Shadow’s control, if Axl gets ahold of them. They’re too young not to mention they can’t hold under that kind of treatment.” I said Grabbing another dagger from the weapons rack along with a couple teleport crystals. Pulling my leather harness from off the shelf I secured it to my waist and back. Sticking various blades in it. Reaching down I pulled on my leather thigh high battle stockings. “They should still be in holding, I’ll get them and be gone before they know what’s hit them.” I said discarding my shirt and reaching for my light jerkin, lacing up the front quickly. Beck came back in standing at Kenna’s elbow he waited for a second before saying,

“Julien is in holding right now, Salem is with him, one of the stray catapults slammed into solitary during yesterdays, break.” I sighed there was no help for that, they probably knew right where our jail was thanks to Julien. Beck grimaced hearing my sigh, moving around Kenna to reach for my camouflaged leather jerkin that someone had shoved on the top shelf. He handed it to me and leaned against the wall looking at Kenna.

“Coryn they know you’ll be coming, I can’t just let you walk into a trap.” She said her brown eyes worried.

“Give me some credit, I’ve retrieved how many people from Grave Shadows?” I asked not really expecting an answer.

“72” Beck said quietly. I glanced at him starting to braid my wavy concord purple hair.

“See nothing to worry about.” I said lightly. Beck and Kenna both scowled at me as I grabbed the spiked strap I braided into my hair to make anyone regret grabbing it. A curl tickled my cheek and I impatiently tucked it behind my ear.

“I hate this as much as you Kenna but she’s right we can’t leave them, and Coryn is the best at what she does.” Beck said rubbing at his eyes. Kenna rested her hands on her lips thinking hard for a moment.

“No, you’re right we can’t. Damn it Julien he had to get those particular ones taken.” She slammed her fist against the wall with surprising strength. Sitting down I held out my hands for my left grooved boot specially made for running, he threw it towards me swiftly followed by my right one. Lacing them up I stood stretching. Grabbing my hood from the peg by the door I pulled it over my head to obscure my vibrant hair. I pushed open the doors with Beck and Kenna following me. Dropping onto one knee I dabbed some dirt on my face. Grabbing my Jian sword and sliding it into the sheath on my back.

“I should get started they won’t be in holding for much longer and I really don’t want to run around the prison, seeing Axl from far off is good enough for me, thanks all the same.” I said bouncing on the balls of my feet and shaking out my arms and shoulders.

“Come back to us Coryn, if you can’t save them it’s okay.” Kenna said reaching for my hand. I stopped turning to her,

“I won’t come back without them, I’ll do whatever it takes. Felix is my brother after all.” I gave her a quick hug and fist bumped Beck who cracked a small smile. As always, I scaled our walls rather than go through the gate it was good practice and a better warm up. I ran lightly through the forest following the well warn path. Sentinel land always seemed so much lighter and friendly the Grave Shadows. Maybe it was the name, but I knew it was more than that. I waved to several other returning hunting parties who saluted me as I passed, they knew better then to keep me when I was wearing my gear. I turned off the path and headed through some trees onto The Strip. We all called it that, it was a gravel road about three car lengths wide, devoid of any plant life. It was the neutral grounds, no one could be taken from it and it had a strict no fighting barrier. If you attempted to fight someone on it, you’d get zapped and it hurts like hell. Looking both ways across The Strip I vaulted across with practiced ease landing noiselessly in Grave Shadows. The vegetation grew thick here, the trees closer together. The forest was dark and silent, a bare stretch of land that could’ve been a meadow at one point but was now just dead grass, lay to my right. It met The Strip while forest reigned on either side of it. I knew most of the patrols used the open to move about mostly because it was easier. Moving silently through the trees I stopped to listen sucking my breath in to hear everything with no interruptions. Voices, I swung myself up into one of the trees positioning myself in its branches, luckily it still had its leaves intact. The scouting party passed directly below me,

“Shut up Jeffrey,” Said one speaker rounding on another of the figures.

“Don’t tell me to shut up Tony, my aim was perfect I know I got the Sents solitary.” Jeffery said irritably.

“Both of you quit, Julien isn’t going to be in holding long with or without solitary, come on let’s go.” The third figure obviously, the party leader hissed at the both of them. The party moved off in the direction of Sentinel. I clenched my fist half needing to go after them. The retrieval team for Julien was coming way sooner than we expected. I took a calming breath and made myself think of Felix and Cait, they wouldn’t be in holding much longer either and Grave’s solitary wasn’t broken. Swinging down from the tree I continued on towards holding. I ran across two other small parties which was weird usually there was a lot more foot traffic. The electric fence surrounding holding was a good 8 feet high. I climbed a tree looking down, my luck it was the guard change. Spotting Cait and Felix, they were chained next to each other, neither had been taken before and they both looked pretty roughed up. Setting my foot into the tree I pushed off it with a small grunt of effort landing on the other side and rolling to take the force of the fall off my ankles. I kept close to the ground slipping quietly up to Felix and putting a finger to my lips. Drawing out a lock pick I had him free in a second and Cait in another second. I turned surveying the fence, they’d fixed it since last I was here. Probably on Axl’s orders, curse him he made my job harder every time.

“Hang on guys, I’m going to have to short circuit this bitch. Get ready to run through that gate when this thing blows. Stick to the edge of the forest. We’re gonna have half of Grave on us. Do not look back, do not wait for me, keep going until you get to The Strip. Do you understand?” I asked looking them both in the eyes.

“But Coryn-“ Started Felix, I grabbed his chin and asked again my eyes dead serious,

“Do. You. Understand.” I didn’t phrase it as a question. Felix dropped his eyes and nodded.

“Get ready” I whispered. Drawing my Jian I took off my hood wrapping it around my hands on the hilt and jammed it into the control box on the fence. The entire thing exploded like the sound of thrumming electricity in a shower of sparks.

“GO NOW,” I bellowed, no point in being quiet when there was yelling from inside the prison and the alarm had started to go off. Cait and Felix took off running and I took off after them. Almost immediately we met resistance I turned slamming my hand into the guy’s solar plexus who was making a run for Felix and Cait, he dropped like a rock. I turned and continued to run keeping them in my sights. I stopped two more attacks, with quick blows. I knew we were in trouble when I saw red through the trees. I could see The Strip we were so close. Looking behind me I turned back around and skidded to a stop. Axl stood between us and The Strip his arms folded across his chest. I counted 10 guys standing spread out behind him.

“Cait, Felix get behind me now.” They obeyed instantly. I handed Felix a dagger, “Protect Cait remember what I taught you.” I pulled my Jian from its sheath and slipped into my fighting stance a dagger in my other hand. Axl stood impassive for a moment before beckoning three of his men to take me. I smiled as they came towards me, tucking the dagger back into the sheath on my thigh. The one closest to me swung his sword at me rather than taking the hit I ducked underneath weaving my hand up and under his own and pushing upward. His sword flew out of his hand landing a good couple of yards away. Whirling around I slammed my open hand into the back of his neck and he dropped. Rolling under the next attackers punch I came up in a fluid movement slamming my boot into his crotch, he too fell. The next one was a little faster and got a hand on my shoulder, I stuck my blade into the dirt grabbed his hand and flipped him over slamming him into the ground. Looking up I placed a hand on the pommel of my sword. “Whose next.” I asked. Axl had begun to smile sometime during my fight. He chuckled softly, looking me over.

“I certainly didn’t think this would be easy but you are something else aren’t you.” He said the smirk imminent in his deep voice. I scowled at him,

“Fuck off.” I said looking him straight in the face. His black hair was streaked with red and it fell into his face as he talked. I could tell it was cut shorter in the back leaving his bangs wild giving him a dangerous look. He regarded me again, seemingly digesting my response. When he spoke again, the joking was gone from his voice,

“Take them.” He commanded. They surged forwarded I threw myself into action, grabbing my dagger. The fight was a blur, I lost my sword as I laid about me landing a punch here and a kick here. I heard Cait scream and turned I saw they had Felix strung between two of them and another held Cait. I knew my only chance was to get to Axl. Redoubling my efforts, I broke through the mass of bodies and flung myself on Axl. He grunted in surprise as we went over backwards with me on top of him. He grabbed at me, but I had caught him napping. I knelt on his chest my knee digging into his lungs and the blade of my dagger pressed aggressively against his throat.

“Let them go, now.” I said adamantly. He attempted to throw me off but stopped when a trickle of blood dripped down the side of his neck. His eyes locked with mine, and he said

“Let them go.”

“Felix, Cait are you free?” I called refusing to take my eyes away from him for a second.

“Yes Coryn” , I heard Felix say.

“Take those teleport crystals and get out of here, don’t argue just do it.” I said gritting my teeth the tense situation was beginning to make my legs ache. I heard him start to argue and barked,

“FELIX.” I heard him dig around in my small pack and then the Whir of the teleport as they faded and landed on The Strip. I tore my eyes away from Axl to make sure they had made it. He took the chance grabbing my hand that held the dagger he clenched down making me release the weapon. Pushing me off him he rolled on top of me pinning me to the ground. His knee between my legs making it impossible for me to kick him. His bangs hanging into his face, I struggled but couldn’t get any leverage.

“Give me the tag.” He growled at one of his men. He pinned both my arms above my head with one hand and accepted the tag gun that was handed to him. He held it against My thigh and pressed the button. I groaned as the small bead shot deep into my skin. He let go of me sitting back on his knees, “You’ll do what I say or you won’t like the result.” He said catching my eyes with his own. I sneered at him and he pressed the button on the key chain he pulled out of his pocket. The jolt that snapped through me was the effect of a mini tazer it left me gasping. “Get up and put all your weapons on the ground.” He said evenly. I got on my knees and pushed myself up, depositing weapons in a pile on the ground. Once that was done I stood before him, sullen and silent. “Take off your jacket.” He said nodding at the camouflaged leather.

“Go screw yourself.” I spat at him. His finger clamped on the button once more. The shock drove me to my knees.

“I won’t ask again.” He said. I struggled to my feet and discarded my jacket and harness with my other weapons on the ground. He stepped forwards grabbing my jaw roughly. I spat at him and he gave my head a shake. Releasing me he accepted a pair of handcuffs. Pulling my hands behind my back he cuffed them tightly causing me to wince slightly. “Take care of that stuff.” He gestured at my weapons and jacket. Locking his hand around the back of my neck he pushed me forwards, as Felix’s heartbroken cry of “Coryn” rang through the still air. I turned towards him terrified he would step back into Grave. I saw Cullen break through the trees of Sentinel at a full-blown sprint, he grabbed Felix around the waste holding him back.  I stopped cold causing Axl to run into me, we both stumbled forwards his other hand grabbing my shoulder to steady himself. He righted himself barely managing to grab me as I made a break for it towards Felix.  As he grabbed me the key to the bead fell out of his pocket, I lifted my foot and slammed it onto the device breaking it.  Yanking my shoulder out of Axl’s grip I rammed into him knocking him over he grabbed my braid and let go with a curse of pain. Without arms to steady myself he’d caught me off balance and I fell heavily, unfortunately for him I fell on top of him my elbow smashing him in the stomach. He winced and swore, shoving me off of him. I sat up slowly my head ringing, I watched as he brushed off the dead grass from his jeans. There was a twig sticking to one of his bangs,

“You look fucking ridiculous.” I said watching him. He stopped momentarily to glare at me, running a hand through his hair he discovered the twig. He threw it down irritably, “Nice throw, genius.” I said sardonically. He snorted Grabbing my arm and hauling me to my feet,

“You know I’ve had just about enough of you for one day.” I opened my mouth to say something and he immediately clamped a hand over it. He ripped a piece from his shirt uncovered my mouth and proceeded to gag me with the piece of cloth. “AH, sweet silence.” He said dramatically spreading his arms wide. Turning back to me placed a hand on the middle of my back and pushed me forwards. I stumbled forwards and promptly sat down. He sighed with irritation, grabbing me by the waist he swung me over his shoulder. Felix stood his arms wrapped around Cullen’s waist crying softly. Cullen held him his face equal amounts of needing to save me and keeping my only living family safe. Turning my attention back to Axl, I wriggled violently, until the flat of his hand descended forcefully onto my butt sending a sharp pain through me. I protested but all that came out were muted sounds. He smashed his hand down a few more times before I stopped struggling, and lay breathing heavily over his shoulder, as I watched The Strip where Felix and Cullen stood fade into the trees. He put me down at the entrance of the prison. I stumbled slightly and he steadied me hanging onto my bicep. Pulling me into the prison we went past several cells, as the whispers caught my attention. Most of them were along the lines of,

“It’s the Retriever, she finally got caught I wonder how it happened. How are we going to be set free now?” I closed my ears to them as Axl pulled me too the end of the hallway. The room was huge, A row of cabinets lined the back wall, I grimaced trying not to think of how many torture devices could be in them. Axl unlocked my hands grabbing my wrists he held them tightly so I couldn’t escape.  Pulling me into the center of the room he reached above his head grabbing a pair of shackles attached to a chain that dangled from the ceiling. Clamping each onto my wrist he untied the gag, I wiggled my arms causing the chain to clink. Looking up at the ceiling I could see the chain was hooked onto a pully system, I scowled slightly. This would make things difficult. Axl regarded me for a second before grabbing my chin forcing me to look at him,

“We’ll start questioning in a few hours, I’ve got a lot of things I need answered.” He said catching my eyes.

“You won’t get anything from me, might as well just save yourself the trouble.” I growled. He smiled faintly,

“Oh, it won’t be any trouble, I’m kind of looking forward to it actually.” He said looking me over again. I jerked my chin out of his grasp, waiting a moment before spitting in his face. His eyes grew hard as he wiped saliva off his face distastefully, he drew his hand back to slap me across the face,

“Axl, you’re wanted in the council room.” I opened my eyes as Axl turned to look at the speaker,

“I’m busy” He said half turning back to me,

“Dante said now.” Axl turned with a growl of rage,

“Your luck will eventually run out” He spat at me venomously. He brushed by his summoner as he stalked through the doorway. Once Axl was gone, I got a better look at my accidental rescuer. He was tall almost as tall as Axl, he had the same face structure, but his face wasn’t as hard. I knew Axl had two brothers, this must be the younger one. I thought for a second as his name came to me, Nico. He stood leaning against the door frame, regarding me for another minute, before pushing off the door frame giving me a slight nod and following his brother out of the room.

The torture that was inflicted when Axl returned went much like I thought it would. When Axl returned from his meeting he was in an even worse mood then before which didn’t put me off to a great start. Standing in front of me he paced back and forth asking me questions about Sentinel, the layout, their fighters, resources, our jail. I met each one with silence. He stopped pacing long enough to grab a small knife from the table behind him and walk over to one of the cupboards. He rooted around in it for a second before producing a cat of nine tails. I glanced at it, suppressing a wince, there were tiny metal spikes at the end of each leather strand. That wasn’t going to be pleasant. He returned giving the whip an experimental swing.

“Last chance before things get rough for you.” He said leaning in.

“Jokes on you, I like it rough.” I said smiling patronizingly at him. His smile was sardonic as he snorted quietly.

“Who are Kenna’s body guards?” He asked.

“Let me think about it a second, oh right their names are Go and Fuck Yourself.” I said lightly. Axl grunted turning a wheel in the corner that yanked my hands upward forcing me to stand on my toes.

“I thought that might be the answer,” He said, drawing the knife across the top of my forearm. I grunted my fingers tightening into a fist,

“That all you got, weak.” I said through gritted teeth. He grimaced and started making little cuts down the length of my arms. Biting back a scream I felt the blood running along the length of my arms dripping down my shirt front. “I really don’t appreciate you getting blood in my hair or on my clothes, do you know how hard that is to wash out?” I managed to say almost carelessly. Axl asked me the question about Kenna again. When he was met with silence his hand descended onto my back. I grunted in pain as the metal points dug in leaving small slits down my back. “Quit ruining my clothes.” I said my voice hoarse from suppressed screams. His hand came down again and again, I forgot how long it took for him to lose his temper completely. Maybe five minutes or ten, I wasn’t sure. All I remember is the constant sting that went from bearable to excruciating. I could no longer hold back the screams and when I lost my voice from my throat being raw, he didn’t stop. I probably would have died if it hadn’t been for Nico. He appeared out of nowhere grabbing his brother’s hand keeping it from descending.

“Axl, stop. You’re killing her.” Jolted out of his blind rage Axl tossed the whip away, he was breathing hard, sweat soaked through his shirt turning the blood spots a murky brown. He turned and strode from the room slamming the door. As soon as the door shut I lost consciousness. I didn’t notice the shackles on my wrists slipping off. I sighed it was such a struggle to breathe to keep on fighting. I wanted to rest couldn’t I just this once let the world go? My grip slipped off of living, I felt myself drift knowing I would never open my eyes again. The soft blackness of death rolled over me and suddenly I was gasping for breath. My eyes flew open as I was jolted back.

“Come on, come on” That voice, impatient, bordering on panic. I started to cough my eyes watering from the sudden influx of pain and light.  “Oh, thank god, shh you’re all right I’ve got you.” He laid a soft hand on my back causing me to shudder. “I know, it will all be gone soon I promise.”  He said soothingly. Coolness flowed down my back numbing the pain, I looked over my shoulder surprised at the sudden lack of hurt. The skin on my back was knitting itself back together as I watched. His hand glided down my back, turquoise light pooling around his fingers. I started to breathe easier resting my head on the cold concrete floor. It was wet with something and it took me awhile to realize it was blood, my blood. Finished with my back he picked me up carefully avoiding touching the sluggishly bleeding cuts on my arms. He deposited me on a chair and went to grab a bucket of water soap and a sponge. I watched him as he wiped away the blood from my face. His charcoal hair just covered his ears, it was messy, almost styled. A small lock had fallen into his face between his eyes. He finished cleaning my face and back, “Let’s see those arms?” He said, it wasn’t a statement but more of a question. My mind still foggy I looked at him unseeingly. He took my left wrist carefully in his right hand. His left pointer finger traced the cuts on my forearm and they closed almost immediately showing healthy new pink skin. He did the same to my other arm. Situating himself on his knees so his eyes were level with mine, he gently took my chin turning it one way and another touching the bruises on my face and neck. I don’t remember how that happened it was all fuzzy. Finally coming back into myself I blinked catching his eyes. One was a bright turquoise, the color of his magic and the other was a pale gray. I opened my mouth but nothing came out. He touched a finger to my throat and the rawness vanished. Before I could say anything, he asked, “How could you let yourself be captured? Don’t you know he’s killed people before? You’re lucky I got here in time.”

“I was saving my brother, and one of our healers.” I said softly clearing my throat.

“You shouldn’t be here, he hates you more than anyone else. You’ve snatched more people from right under his nose then anyone would ever dare too.”  He said. I smiled bitterly,

“Why heal me if I’m just going to end up dead again?” His eyes grew hard as he took his hand away from my face,

“I don’t know. It would’ve been easier on you if I would’ve just let you die. I can’t explain it, there’s something about you.” He rose and picked me up in one fluid motion his clothes were smeared with my blood. I vaguely realized that mine were in tatters. I felt a slight breeze as we seemed to appear in a huge bathroom. I blinked, hadn’t we just been in grave’s solitary? He set me down on a chair and started a bath, the water loud in the silent room. I struggled to sit upright in the chair stiff from my healing. His hands gripped my waist firmly helping me to sit up. Turning away from me he snapped a glowing turquoise vile off the leather cord of the necklace he wore, pouring its contents into the water. I watched as the water turned a silvery blue then faded swiftly. “It will help you feel better.” He said before I could ask. “Do you need help with your clothes?” He asked. I shook my head, he rose going towards the door. Looking back, he saw me struggling to take my shirt off my back and arms protesting the movement. Shaking his head, he appeared back beside me his fingers softly pushing mine away from the fabric. He produced a knife from somewhere in his belt. I shrunk back and he steadied me with a calm hand. He cut my shirt or what was left of it off me, and did the same with my pants. He tried to undo my bra only to grow impatient and cut it off. He lifted me off the chair and set me in the tub. I rested my head against the porcelain fighting to keep my eyes open. The water was warm and soothing. “I’ll be back in a moment, I need to change.” He said and disappeared from the spot immediately. I don’t know how long I was asleep, when I heard the door shut. Scrambling away from the doorway towards the back of the tub as water sloshed with the flurry of movement. Nico walked towards me his steps silent on the marble floor. He had a towel in one hand and a long robe in another. I relaxed slightly when I saw who he was, but not so much as to leave my defensive position. He laid the towel on the side of the tub and turned around looking towards the door. I pushed myself up, my legs trembling from the effort. I managed to sit on the side of the tub before my legs gave out. Grabbing the towel, I tried to cover myself but the exhaustion was too much. My hands refused to work properly and the towel fell from my nerveless grasp onto the floor. Nico turned to glance at me, in one fluid movement he was up, he slid the towel over my shoulders covering me entirely. Instead of letting me stand he scooped me up into his arms. I felt the same odd sensation as before, the small breeze and the apparent materialization into a new place. He carried me down a hall that looked nothing like the stark cold cells of Grave’s jail. Stopping in front of towering mahogany door, he put me down. One of his arms encircling my waist keeping me upright. His other hand came up towards the door, two of his fingers shimmered with turquoise fire. He traced an intricate pattern onto the door and it swung inward without so much as a creak. He lifted me up again carrying me into the room and depositing me on the bed. The room was furnished in russet and gold, leaves seemed to fall from the ceiling only to disappear before they ever touched the floor. The lazy spin of red, golden, orange leaves was mesmerizing. The floor was a reddish-brown wood. Covering most of the floor were deep red rugs trimmed in gold, that looked lusciously soft.  Bookshelves lined one wall as ivy twined along the shelves and trim of the walls. A fire burned in a sandstone fireplace placed by the wall towards the end of the bed. The Lamps that hung from the ceiling gave the room a warm glow, rather than a bright lighting. Pots of rare flowers, herbs and Alchemical ingredients lined the walls encircling the room. A small table with a couple of chairs occupied the corner as a candle burned on its surface. A dresser was tucked on the other side of the bed, beside a doorway leading presumably to a bathroom. Maps depicting faraway lands decorated the walls where no plants hung. The bedspread I sat on was exquisitely soft and warm, between the fire and the homey feeling of the room my eyes drooped. I fought to keep awake as I remembered what I was going to ask,

“Aren’t you going to get in trouble for this, bringing me here and not locking me up?” I asked my words slurring together showing how tired I was.

“You let me worry about that, go to sleep you need it.”  He said firmly. I tried to argue but got no further than a “But” before sleep overtook me. I woke up somewhere around dawn the next day. Nico was nowhere to be found, so I sat up carefully. I winced slightly the pain was bearable but I was incredibly stiff. Swinging my feet over the side of the bed I stood up slowly as the bathroom door swung open and Nico came out, scrubbing a towel over his tousled black hair. “Oh good, you’re awake, can you walk?” He asked, draping the towel over his right shoulder. I grimaced pushing myself onto my feet steadying myself against the bed. My legs were sore but not as near beat up as the rest of me. I walked slowly and carefully the circuit of the room, stopping only to pull the thin robe tighter around me. He watched me carefully, his eyes steady, no way to tell what he was thinking. “Well I’m impressed never seen anyone able to walk fine after that big of a healing.” He said finally. He disappeared a moment then reappeared with some white linen clothes. “Put these on, I’ve got to get you back to solitary before Axl or Dante comes looking for you.” He said casually, handing me the clothes. I slid by him closing the door to the bathroom and froze. Like the room the bathroom was a season. Snowflakes fell from the grey ceiling spinning to disappear just before they touched the floor. The marble floor looked as if it would be cold to the touch, but as I stepped on it gingerly I was surprised by the heat flowing through it. Winter flowers decorated the room in small pot fixtures attached to the walls. The small lamp that hung from the ceiling gave the entire scene a magical glow. I stopped gawking and hurried to put on the clothes remembering what Nico had said. Folding the robe, I placed it on the small table beside the sink. I came out of the bathroom my legs already starting to ache from being upright for those few minutes. Nico lounged in one of the chairs by the embers in the fireplace. He put aside the book he was reading, and stood up cracking his back. “You ready?” He asked starting towards me. I nodded trying not to sigh with relief as he picked me up giving my aching legs a rest. Solitary appeared just as suddenly as his room disappeared. He carried me towards the back wall, drawing level with the cell, he fished out a key from somewhere in his pocket. The door opened with a metallic creak. He placed me gently on the stone outcropping that was apparently supposed to be for sleeping. Grabbing one of the shackles attached to the wall by a chain, he placed it gently around my right ankle. The cold metal making me shiver, I put my foot dawn causing the chain to clink against the floor. “Don’t move too much and it won’t rub.” He said, his gaze troubled as he stood up. He locked my cell and turned away. I saw his form start to shimmer and scrambled towards the bars,

“Wait!” I said half panicked. He became corporeal again turning to look at me. I thrust my hands through the bars grabbing at his shirt. He caught one of my hands with his own, stopping my reach. His hand was huge compared to mine, it enveloped mine as if it were just a child. “Thank you.” I said my voice barely audible in the echoing hallway, I gave his hand a soft squeeze, before saying softly, “My name is Coryn by the way, in case you didn’t know.” His eyes softened at my touch,

“Coryn,” He said repeating my name in his warm tone. “Nicolaren, but I prefer Nico.” He said after a moments pause. He ran his thumb down the top of my hand once more before shimmering out of existence. I sat back down on the stone bed my had tingling with the memory of his touch. Pulling my legs up to my chest I laid my head on my knees, and waited. Not long after that Axl came for me, he peered through the bars

“I guess Nico managed to save you after all, that’s good kind of hard to question a dead person.” I looked at him scowling, I lounged on the stone bed against the wall, my leg shackle clinking with the movement of my foot. He unlocked my cell door I didn’t move just sat looking at him, he glanced at me suspiciously. I watched as he held my foot down as he unlocked the shackle, his grip was tight almost painful as if he expected me to try and kick him. I would wait for my opportunity. He released my foot and grabbed both my wrists sliding a pair of handcuffs onto them. I stood up as he pulled my bicep towards the door. We arrived at the interrogation room, it had been cleaned recently the chemicals causing my nose to twitch. He grabbed one of the chains that had secured me yesterday looking up at the ceiling frowning as it caught on the pully system. I half turned away from him pretending to sneeze into my hands. The small cylinder of metal slipped from my cheek where I’d been keeping it. I remembered when I grabbed Nico’s arm before he disappeared, he’d slipped the lock pick into my hand after I told him my name. I slid the cuffs off my wrist folding my left hand over them so they encircled my knuckles.  Axl was still staring at the ceiling pulling the chain when I struck. I swiped my leg under both of his, with a cry of surprise he fell heavily onto his back, he rolled sideways and surged to his feet barely avoiding my fist, the metal of the handcuffs connected with the floor causing a small shower of sparks. His eyes widened slightly at the force of the blow. As fluidly as my fist hit the floor I twisted up flipping my feet over my head in an effortless backflip. I landed on my two feet automatically sliding into a fighting stance: feet apart poised on the balls of my feet, my hands curled loosely in fists protecting my front and sides. Axl had also slipped into a fighter’s stance, his was more solid, because he relied on his strength more than his agility. I smiled patronizingly at him, and beckoned with a finger. He stared at me impassively his eyes locking on the metal in my left hand. I sighed,

“Fine, I’ll make it easy for you.” I said rolling my eyes. I tossed the handcuffs away from me they slid a good five feet before stopping a distance from us. His speed was damn fast, as his fist swung towards my face. I ducked feeling the wind whistle as his punch sailed over where my head had been a second before. I took the chance before he had time to recover, pushing myself into a handstand I launched myself upwards fastening my legs around his neck. He grunted trying to shake me off, he grabbed at me with one hand. I grabbed the hand he reached for me with and threw my weight forwards, caught off balance he staggered forwards without his other hand to catch him I used mine and his arm to push us of the ground. Using the last bit of my strength I body slammed him into the floor my leg pressing into his windpipe. He struggled to get my leg off his throat with the other arm I wasn’t holding. He struggled for a moment before he seemed to come to his senses. Rolling sideways he freed himself of me, we both rose from the ground panting. His eyes were wary as he looked at me, now he knew what I could do, I’d have to be careful. I sidestepped a fraction to slow and his fist caught the side of my jaw. I winced as my lip split open. I ducked up under his arm elbowing him full in the face before he could block me. We turned to face each other again. He wiped his arm across his face wincing as blood smeared on his forearm from his nose, it looked broken. I dragged my thumb across my lip wiping the blood on my shirt. With a grunt of rage, he charged me, grabbing me around the neck he slung me into the wall. My back hit the hard concrete knocking the breath out of me as I choked rubbing at my neck trying to breath properly again. He was on me immediately, grabbing both my wrists he pinned them to the wall above my head. I struggled gasping my eyes tearing up from lack of oxygen. He shoved his leg between mine so I couldn’t kick him. My breathing slowed as I finally got in control of my body. He was breathing hard he turned his head to the side to spit blood onto the floor.

“I was going to give you a break after yesterday, but I’m not feeling generous just now.” He growled his voice hitching slightly with pain. He drew out a knife from the buckle on his belt, and started to cut my pants away.

“What are yo-“ I started to ask before I caught his triumphant gaze. I started to struggle violently. This was why I couldn’t leave Felix or more specifically Cait in his clutches. I pulled a muscle in my neck and back trying to get free of him, but his grip was like Iron. He tucked the knife back in the buckle and reached up under my shirt, grabbing my left breast and squeezing. I gasped trying to pull away from his touch. He moved onto my right breast after a moment of squeezing and pinching. Taking the collar of my shirt between his fingers he ripped it off me. Unbuckling his belt, he pulled it free of his jeans using it to secure my hands together. He unzipped the fly of his pants, pressing up against me he went to kiss me but I turned my head away from him. With a hiss of annoyance, he grabbed the lower part of my jaw connecting to my neck. I could taste his blood on my lips. I tried to pull away but he held me steady slipping his tongue into my mouth. I tensed with disgust his bulge pressing up against my abdomen. He kissed down my jaw biting at my neck hard enough to make me wince. He reached down freeing his boner from the folds of his clothes. He spun me around shoving the side of my face against the wall by gripping the back of my neck. I struggled again, a single sob escaping my mouth before I pressed my lips together tightly. His hand grabbed my hip and he pulled me onto him. Despite my efforts, a scream tore itself from my lips,

“You like that don’t you, slut.” He murmured in my ear. He pulled back and slammed his length back into me, the pain was excruciating, I’d take the whipping to this any day. “I took the liberty of applying a little Extra sensory toxin to help with the lubrication.” He said smugly ramming into me again, my entire body was on fire centering around my cervix. I didn’t even feel him let go of my hands to put both hands on my hips giving himself more leverage. He grabbed my ass roughly smashing his hand across it. I barely felt the pain because it was a bug bite compared to the raging fire going on inside me. I must’ve been pleading for him to stop because he started to laugh at some point. He turned me back around my body drooped from pain and exhaustion, he was just getting his fingers under my thighs when a bolt of turquoise fire caused him to drop me and stumble backwards away from me. The immense pain cleared a little without the main source of stimulus. I slid to the floor as a figure came in his eyes flashing with anger. Turquoise fire flickered around his body his hands throwing off sparks. He grabbed Axl by the neck lifting him clear off the floor he threw him into the far wall. Axl’s head smashed into the concreate and he slid to the ground unconscious. Nico started toward his unconscious form only halting when I let out a sob of pain. He turned quickly materializing beside me. He knelt laying a hand on my abdomen where the white-hot circle of pain radiated from. The fire flared so brightly around his hand I had to blink back the spots it left on my vision. He gritted his teeth in concentration placing his other hand on the same spot. He bowed his head again growling in frustration and effort. The pain flared once more before the coldness erupted through it putting out the fire. I slumped to the ground in relief my head lolled to one side. He wiped the sweat pooling on his upper lip, severing Axl’s belt from my wrists. He gathered me up in his arms holding me close to his chest as I let out little whimpers of pain. I felt my grip on reality start to slip as the room faded away and the familiarity of his room appear. He placed me gently in the bathtub and rushed around the room grabbing various ingredients and items.  He dumped them all into the bathtub with me and started to speak incantations, my reality became starkly alert as an invisible wave slammed through me and outwards. Nico threw up a magical shield to protect himself from the sickly black ooze that rose out of my skin. As suddenly as the ooze had appeared it dissipated leaving the air clear and untainted. I sat up disoriented my senses tingling. Nico held out his hands palm up in an appeasing gesture,

“It’s okay Coryn, the curse is gone I killed it.” He said walking towards me slowly.

“Curse? He said it was some sort of poison.” I said looking baffled.

“Is that what he told you? Typical, the curse in a liquid form. He must’ve gotten it from Dante, it was hard to break.” He mused and then quickly said, “But it’s gone now, it won’t come back.” When I looked panicked. I tried turn my head to get a better look at myself and gasped in pain my vision going fuzzy. Nico was beside me in an instant, he reached a hand out laying a finger on my neck and near my shoulder blade. I felt the muscles loosen immediately and sighed as the white-hot shock of pain cut off. I grabbed the sides of the tub boosting myself up to a standing position water dripping off me. As I stood up I heard Nico hiss in anger, startled I turned my head to look at him. His eyes were smoldering, and he stretched out a hand that shook with rage. I shivered as his fingers closed over my elbow and he turned me to the side, I looked to see what he was so upset about and saw them. The bruises, a handprint on both my hips, and finger prints trailing up my back. He turned me towards him, the damage on my front was much worse. The place where Axl had grabbed me under my shirt was black and blue already in such a short time. Gently Nico put a hand beneath my chin and tilted my head to the side, I could tell by the rigid set of his shoulders that it was bad. I took his hand away from my face,

“It’s okay, it doesn’t hurt right now.” I said in an effort to calm him down. He pulled his hand from mine his eyes hard,

“Don’t you dare say it’s okay.” His voice trembled with rage, he turned suddenly smashing his fist into the bathroom wall leaving a smoking dent in the tile. My mouth dropped open as I backpedaled towards the opposite wall causing the water to slosh against the sides of the tub. He turned quickly at the sound his eyes growing softer as he read my fear. He put his hands up in a gesture of apology holding out a no longer shaking hand to me. I looked at it for a moment scared to go near him after his outburst, but his eyes were steady and he’d made the pain go away. I cautiously reached for his hand, he took it carefully turning me towards the back wall. I gasped as he wrapped his hand around the side of my hip, exactly where Axl’s had been. His hand was icy and I fidgeted uncomfortably, turning to see what he was doing I watched as his hand glowed faintly blue. He took his hand away and the bruise vanished as if it had never been there. He did the same on my other hip, then touched the trail up my back with his pointer finger. Keeping hold of my elbow he straightened my arm vanishing the handprints on my bicep, then moved onto my neck and face. Finishing he took both my hands in his, “Can I get rid of those? He asked nodding at my breasts. “And those too?” He said pointing towards the bruising on my butt. I glanced down my eyes suddenly full of tears,

“Please.” I croaked. He placed his hands over the malicious handprints and the bruises vanished. A single teardrop slipped down my cheek. He wiped it away softly with the thumb of his left hand. My head drooped and more tears fell. He gathered me up in his arms hugging me to his chest, his chin resting on the top of my head. He held me too him as I started to cry in earnest. He rubbed my back soothingly hugging me tightly. Ten minutes later I sat in his lap my tears all used up, as I stared blankly ahead. He reached over grabbing a towel from the rack and wrapped it around me. I didn’t even react, the numbness was starting to creep over me incasing my heart in ice. He carried me to the bed and sat me on it my legs hanging off the edge. Getting on his knees he snapped a finger in front of my face. I didn’t even blink,

“Coryn, hey, stay with me.” He said his voice pleading. He cupped a hand around my face, begging me to look at him to see him. I fought through the fog clouding my brain, his hand was warm and helped beat back some of the numbness. My eyes focused finally looking at him. “You’re a survivor, don’t let this break you, don’t let him win.” He pleaded now that he had my attention. I opened my mouth, my voice hitching,

“But he’ll just do it again tomorrow.” I said the fear imminent in my voice. His eyes hardened,

“No, he won’t. I’m getting you out of Grave as soon as possible.” His voice was steady and sure.

“Won’t that make you a traitor?” I asked, scared for him. His laugh was harsh and brittle,

“I’ve stood by and watched the inhumane things that happen here for too long, It’s time I join the fray and put a stop to it, to him, to them.” He said. I knew who he meant both Axl and Dante.

“But they’re both powerful mages and fighters.” I said looking at him. His eyes grew hard again, his broad shoulders filling out as he stood up.

“They are nothing compared to me. I think it’s time they remember who I am and what I can do.” He said his voice defiant. I stared up at him, as the War of Shadows came back to me. We were both younger then, probably five years ago, usually no one died in our battles. Why waste a life when you could convert the life to your side? This battle was different Kenna’s predecessor and Nico’s father pit their forces against each other resulting in a unimaginable amount of bloodshed on both sides. All three brothers begged for their father to put a stop to it but he wouldn’t. And when the ground ran slick with blood, and we’d lost 1/4th of our people both sides put together, the youngest son of Grave shadow’s rage broke. The wave of power that had rolled off him leveled everything in its path including the two responsible for the war. Dante stepped up to lead Grave and Kenna stepped up to lead Sentinel. The two leaders agreed on no killing to keep the loss of life in the past. I gazed up at him again. The same 16-year-old, now in his early 20’s stared back at me. His eyes bleak as he remembered the lives he had taken to end the killing. I reached out grabbing his wrist and pulling him towards me. I hugged him tightly,

“You don’t have to walk this path alone, I’ll protect you.” I said into his shoulder. He pulled back from me slightly,

“How can you say such a thing after all you’ve been through? I should have stopped him before he,” His eyes hardened “Did what he did to you. I’m just as bad as him, I don’t deserve protection.” I put both my hands on the side of his face willing him to look at me.

“You did save me, you kept me from dying and from something worse. I have a chance to move on with my life because of you. I have a chance at a normal life because of what you did.” I said annunciating each word carefully. He shook his head making a disgusted sound,

“How can you touch me, look at me, say those things to me? I don’t deserve someone like you. You’re strong, so much stronger than anyone I’ve ever known.” I forced his chin up tearing his gaze from the ground.

“Stop beating yourself up over the past, choosing to make a stand lies in the present. Take solace in that and help me help you put a stop to this before the past comes knocking.” I said my voice firm. His eyes snapped up and he nodded once, his hand sliding onto mine which still cradled his face.

“I woke up early the next morning, opening my eyes to the soft glow of the sun across my face.  I sat up slowly, the room had turned into the deep summer of July and August, the bed sheets partially covered me. I could see the dust motes dancing in the sun, glittering. It was beautiful and I almost lost myself, before bringing my mind back to the present. Shifting slightly, I felt something warm pressing against my hip, turning slightly I looked down in surprise. His charcoal hair fell on his face messily glowing in the soft light. He looked so peaceful, his chest rising and falling evenly. Hesitantly I reached out a hand to brush a lock of hair away from his face. Pulling the sheet tighter around me, when I looked back his eyes were open staring at me. I lifted my hand away but he caught it with one of his own. Reaching up he brushed a strand of hair behind my ear, his fingers lingering on my face.

“You’re so beautiful.” He said his voice rough from sleep. I leaned against his hand, not knowing what to say, I was struggling with too many emotions, I wanted him he was so gentle, so courageous, so wise for his years; but the things done to me by Axl had broken a part of me that wasn’t so easily fixed. He seemed to find something in my eyes that made him understand, he dropped his hand from my face and released my wrist, sitting up causing the dust motes to swirl around him. The white t-shirt he wore clung to his subtly muscled chest, I hadn’t noticed that before. I could feel a blush creeping up my cheeks starkly aware that I wore nothing except the sheet clutched to my chest. He glanced up at me through the fringe of his hair, an amused smile lighting up his face. Pushing himself up from the bed in one fluid movement he cracked his back, his jeans rumpled from sleeping in them. I tried not to stare even though his back was to me, he turned to face me again, “How are you feeling, anything hurt?” he asked.  I swung my feet over the side of the bed carefully getting to my feet, everything seemed fine, I took a couple of steps and the floor yawned away from me. Nico was across the room in a second catching me, he scooped me up and deposited me back on the bed.

“What happened?” I asked shaking my head to clear it. He leaned down pressing a hand to my forehead,

“You haven’t eaten in a couple of days, I should of thought of that before. I’ll be back in a second, sit tight.” He said and vanished. He wasn’t gone more than five minutes, carrying a plate that smelled of pancakes, my mouth watered. I hadn’t realized how hungry I was until food was in front of me. Nico, watched his eyes widening slightly as I practically inhaled the food. When I was finished, he took the plate from me handing me a glass of water. I drank that as well then attempted to stand again. This time my legs held and my vision was clear, “Here, I found these for you.” He said handing me the things Axl took from me when I was captured, as well as a pair comfortable jeans and a dark long-sleeved t-shirt. I took them letting the sheet slip to the floor just outside the bathroom. Walking out shaking my hair over one shoulder I stretched my body loosening up its stiffness. Nico lounged against the wall, he’d changed his jeans to black combat pants. He reached for a leather vest hanging on a peg dawning it he began cinching buckles and belts. A metal shoulder plate rested on his left shoulder, as some armor. I grabbed my harness I began fixing it around my hips and across my back. Nico watched me for a second before tossing me my Jian, and another sword similar to it. I caught them both expertly sheathing them across my back. He handed me my coat I took it from him it felt so good to have it back. He pushed off the wall, glancing around his room, “You ready to go, Retriever?” He asked, using my old nickname. I smiled at him,

“Won’t you miss this place?” I asked waving my hand around his room.

“We can always come back, this room is something I made in a dimension all of its own, laced with magic to its core.” He said stepping in close to me.

“You made this? Your own little slice of life.” I said breathlessly. He nodded,

“I’m useful for something more than my good looks.” He joked. I elbowed him, and he chuckled. He wrapped his arms around my waist careful not to hook himself on any of the smaller knives tucked into my harness. I opened my eyes as the walls of the outside of graves prison blurred to life. He let go of me and we both immediately crouched in the scant protection of the stone walls. His turquoise eye glimmered in the scant lighting. I pointed to the tree cover fifty yards away. “There are guards patrolling the top of these walls.” He said patting the wall behind us.

“Just follow my lead, you ready?” I asked, he nodded and I took off. Rolling forward I pushed up with my hands righting myself on the balls of my feet, I slipped silently from shadow to shadow, never going in a straight line. Reaching the tree cover I turned to watch Nico’s back as he followed. Twenty-five yards to go and they spotted him. Dashing out of my cover I slammed into him knocking him out of the way as an arrow landed where he had been. Grabbing a knife from my harness I launched it at the battlements, the archer fell from the wall immediately slain. Nico didn’t stop to look at the ramparts he grabbed me and made a mad dash for the tree line. We both dived into it as a hail of arrows followed. The yelling increased,

“We have to go, Now. They’ll be coming out with fighters and probably Axl.” He said as we both leaned panting against a tree. I nodded at him,

“Let’s go then.” I said grabbing his hand. Throwing caution to the winds we ran flat out disregarding the tree cover and taking the well-worn path out of grave. In sight of Sentinel they caught up to us on both sides, I hadn’t expected the pincer movement and neither had Nico. His eyes were hard as I grabbed his wrist, “We can do this, I know what you’re thinking, not a chance. I’m not leaving you. Let’s take a few of them with us.” I said my eyes lighting up at the prospect of a fight. He glanced at me,

“Coryn...” He started doubtfully, I shushed him

“Don’t worry, this is what I was born to do.” I said my swords clearing their sheaths with a musical rasp. “Who wants to die first?” I yelled at the advancing graves. Axl pushed his way through the throng his shoulders shaking in rage there was a sizeable bump on his skull where he’d smashed into the wall,

“Get them, I want both alive, especially her.” He spat venomously. The force deepest in Grave charged, I vaulted among them breaking their formation. Two heads thudded into the grass before the initial battle cry had left the remaining force. The battle was a blur from there on. I lost track of how many people I killed, Axl entered the fray when his force was all but lost. He skidded on his knees under my sword turning he knocked it out of my hands. I swung with the other one opening up his shoulder. He roared in pain turning he back handed me across the face. Stumbling backwards I twisted my shoulder out of his grip slamming my foot into his knee. He stumbled forward releasing me, we broke away circling each other warily. The ground trembled as a roar of furry tore from Nico’s mouth. I turned in time to see the wave of power that rolled off him slamming into the party in front of us. Axl grabbed me by the wrist I slammed my other hand into the cartilage just below his shoulder. The knife stuck deep, I yanked my wrist out of his hold stepping in close,

“I should kill you, but I won’t because you’re his family.” I hissed at him. He staggered backward gripping the blade trying to pull it out.

“Nicolaren, how could you do this? She’s scum, we’re family.” He cried. Nico turned sparks flying from his clenched fists.

“Don’t you fucking dare call her that. You want the definition of scum, look in the mirror.” His voice was tight with anger. Axl stepped towards me, Nico raised his clenched fist releasing the power pent up by unfurling his hand palm out. Axl went flying before he dug his feet and fingers into the ground to withstand the onslaught.

“What did she do to make you choose a Sentinel over your own flesh and blood?” He screamed at him, blood running from the wound in his shoulder. Nico turned away from his brother, his hand breaking off the power. He reached for me his hand settling around the side of my neck and my jaw, he tilted my head up bringing his lips down to mine. I reached instinctively for his waist, his lips warm on mine. He drew away from me slowly his eyes shining.

“You wouldn’t understand, love isn’t in your vocabulary big brother.” He said bitterly. Turning his back on Axl completely he took my hand leading me towards the strip. “Come on Coryn, Sentinel awaits” I took his hand letting him lead me out of Grave Shadow’s.  

 

 

 

Nico let me go ahead of him, as I practically ran towards The Ivory Hall. I burst in the door, Kenna and Salem were standing beside a young boy in a chair. He was crying quietly as Kenna rubbed his shoulders talking softly to him. The door slammed shut behind me and all three of them turned to look. Kenna’s shocked whisper echoed in the sudden silence,

“Oh my god.” Her hand covered her mouth as her eyes filled with tears. The boy, his blonde hair swept away from his brilliant blue eyes half tripped over his chair to get at me.

“CORYN,” His yell broke the shocked silence as he dashed towards me. I grabbed him pulling him into a vicelike hug, burying my face in his hair. He clung to me sobbing, I held him as his frame shook. Murmuring into his hair,

“It’s okay, I’m okay Felix, shhh,” Repeatedly. I released him and knelt slightly so I could look him in his eyes.

“I was so worried, I thought you were gone forever.” He said, his voice so broken it tore at my heart.

“Nothing could keep me from you, I love you so much, you are so strong. That day you saved more lives than your own, my brave hero.” I said wiping the tears from his cheek. He smiled through them, reaching out to touch the side of my face where a bruise was already starting to form from where Axl had hit me. I smiled at him taking his hand from my face and squeezing it, “Don’t worry I gave better then I got.” I said grinning at him. That squeezed a small laugh from him. I straightened up my hand still holding his. I embraced Kenna with one arm, she clung to me also crying.

“I thought we’d lost you.” She said into my shoulder. I stroked her hair,

“Don’t you know I’m harder to get rid of then that?” She giggled wetly. Salem moved quietly forward putting a soft kiss on my forehead,

“Trust you to escape before I could be a hero by rescuing you.” He said his deep voice joking, but as I looked at him I could see the sparkle of unshed tears in his eyes. I stood hearing the door shut softly,

“I want you all to meet someone,” I said turning towards the door where Nico stood. His charcoal hair was disheveled and sweat gleamed on his face. I hadn’t noticed the tears in his sleeves from stray blades.  Kenna was between Felix and Nico in an instant her hand on her sword. Her eyes hard as she looked at him. I put my hand on hers keeping her from drawing her weapon. “Stop. I owe him my life.” I said my eyes turning stern.

“That’s Nicolaren Grave.” She said her voice uncertain.

“I know, without him I’d be dead.” I said slowly releasing her hand. Felix broke away from her protective hand,

“Did you really help Coryn?” He asked fiercely looking up into Nico’s eyes. Nico knelt so he could look Felix in the face,

“I swear by the stars that cover the sky, I brought her back to you.” He said his voice soft. Felix reached out hugging Nico around the neck,

“Thank you for saving my sister.” He said into Nico’s shoulder. Nico reached up and patted his back gently,

“She saved me too. She’s one tough woman.” He said when Felix let him go. Felix smiled at that and turned back towards Kenna who nodded once at Nico. Nico stood up,

“Is there anywhere we can clean up? I also need to take care of Coryn’s injuries.” He said bowing slightly in Kenna’s direction. Her grace returned almost immediately,

“Of course, there’s an open guest quarters upstairs.” She said indicating the left staircase. He held his hand out to me and I reached to take it after giving Felix a final kiss on his forehead. Kenna caught my eyes and smiled knowingly. I turned away before she could see my blush.

I sat my legs dangling off the bed, both of us had taken showers. Turquoise fire glimmered around Nico’s fingers as he touched various cuts. His fingers brushed the bruise on my face, the last physical blemish of Axl. I looked up at him, suddenly tears were spilling from my eyes.

“Coryn?” He asked concern coloring his voice.

“I killed people today. I took an oath against killing, and I broke it.” I said, the words hitching in my throat. He wiped the tears away with his thumb.

“That’s not fair. They were trying to kill you. You saved my life as much as your own. Would you have let them take you away from Felix forever? From me?” He asked softly. I looked at him his different colored eyes glimmering back at me.

“No” I said softly. He tucked a strand of hair behind my ear,

“That’s my girl.” He said smilingly. I looked at him and the need to get rid of the shadow Axl had saddled me with flared intensely. My mouth was on his before he could ask about the change in my gaze. He responded almost instantly, his hand nestling around the back of my neck. The world blinked out for a second and my feet landed on the familiar soft carpet of fallen leaves. I barely recognized that we were in Nico’s own private rooms, before I slid my hand into his hair pushing myself closer into him. My back hit the wall as he braced his hand against it. My hands slipped under his shirt tracing the outline of his subtle abdominal muscles. I pushed at his shirt. He broke away from me long enough to pull his shirt over his head and fling it to the side. He kissed me again his fingers searching for the edges of my shirt. I pulled it over my head not even hearing it hit the floor. His hands slid onto my body, and my skin shivered at his touch. His hands found my waist maneuvering me around so my back was to the bed. Letting go of me he unbuckled his pants leaving them unzipped, I watched him a blush creeping over my cheeks. I sat down on the bed as he started towards me. Reaching out he pushed me on my back positioning himself over me. I looked up at him biting my lip slightly, I reached for the back of his neck pulling his mouth down to mine. He grunted softly his other hand running along the length of my thigh my skin throbbing beneath my jeans. I clenched my hand in his hair, and he made another soft noise against my lips. Taking my hand from his hair he pinned it to the bed, pushing his knee between my thighs. I groaned faintly the blush deepening on my cheeks. He sat up slightly his left hand continued to pin my wrist to the bed as his right hand undid the buttons and zipper to my jeans. Tugging them off me he threw them to the right, his hand slipping underneath me to grab my butt. His knee pushed against me, and I could feel the start of wetness. He leaned down trailing kisses down my body, each spot tingling from the touch of his lips. He sat up depositing his pants on the ground, climbing me over again his hand loosely pressing against my throat. My breath quickened as my heart beat speeded up considerably. He smiled slightly that half amused half sexy as hell smile that always made me blush. He leaned down to kiss me again pushing his knee harder against me, a small moan escaped my lips. He released my neck his hand closed around my left breast as he squeezed it aggressively but not enough to cause bruising. Pulling me up he sat me in his lap my hands braced on his knees. He slid my underwear off and inserted a finger into me. I gasped softly as his other hand gripped the bottom of my chin and the top of my neck. He turned my head to the side so our lips were almost touching. He added a second finger to the first pushing up into me. My fingers curled on his knees, as he added a third finger. I hadn’t noticed the frequent noises I was making and I felt the blush sharpen against me cheeks once more. His knowing smile didn’t help my embarrassment.

“Do you want to try?” He said softly in my ear. I gave a tiny nod. He pushed me down onto my stomach gently. “We’ll go slow, just tell me if it hurts.” He said moving over me. His hands pressed on my lower back as he pushed himself into me. It hurt at first but he was so patient, stopping and telling me to relax and to breathe. The fear welled up inside me making it hard to breathe, what if he didn’t stop. I needed to know.

“Stop.” I said my voice strangled. He froze instantly withdrawing almost immediately,

“What’s wrong, did I hurt you?” He asked his voice worried. My breathing lightened as the fear lessened, he sounded so kind.

“No, I, I just wanted to make sure” I trailed off ashamed. He was silent for a moment,

“I understand, I would never do anything to hurt you, Coryn.” After another moment of silence, “Do you want to stop?” He asked.

“No, try again please.” I said softly. He pushed into me again, it was easier this time the fear a stark memory but a memory all the same.

“I’m going to start out slow, if It hurts tell me.” He said as he began to move slowly, pushing in and pulling out. He speeded up in small increments his fingers always gentle. I felt it, the stirrings of pleasure deep inside me. His pace quickened and the moans tore from my mouth more frequent. Everything faded away in the moment all that mattered was him and satisfying this burning craving inside me. When I felt as if I couldn’t stand the craving anymore I hit my climax and I felt him grow inside me. We both lay breathing hard, he rolled off me laying across the bed. A sheen of sweat layering his perfect body. I pushed myself up on shaking arms, sitting up slowly. I took him in as he swept his eyes appreciatively over my figure. I self-consciously pushed hair away from my face, suddenly aware it was a complete mess,

“Was I okay?” I asked in a small voice. He was up in an instant his nose inches from mine, his fingers cupped under my chin.

“You were amazing, I immensely enjoyed myself. I know you did too.” He said almost smugly. I reddend slightly,

“Maybe.” I said trying not to smile. He chuckled softly, leaning forwards to give me a kiss. When he broke away from me I stifled a yawn.

“Already bored of me?” He teased, “Come on you’ve had a long day, we both have. Let’s get you to bed.” He said picking me up and depositing my head on a pillow. I was so tired all of a sudden, I could barely keep my eyes open. He covered me with the sheets and climbed in bed with me. Pulling me into him so I was nestled against him. My back against his chest, as his chin rested on top of my head and his arm pulling me in closer. I fell asleep hugging his arm to my chest.


© Copyright 2020 MadMaudie. All rights reserved.

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