The Damned

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 51 (v.1)

Submitted: November 23, 2013

Reads: 33

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Submitted: November 23, 2013

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51

 

Bero Castle, Bero, Devon, 31st May 1231

 

Conor pulled his horse to a stop, and slackened his reins, letting them run through his fingers as he looked at the great stone fortress which rose before him. He swiftly dismounted, tethering the gelding to a wooden peg which he pushed into the soft turf.


He was like a storm-tossed bird, the wind buffeting him on all sides, disorientating him. Every way he turned there was darkness and loss, every path leading to the same dead end. He couldn’t go back, and he didn’t know how to move forwards. 


He looked at Bero Castle uncertainly. He had been broken before, but someone had been there to fix him. Conor couldn’t get her out of his mind. When the entire world was a raging tempest, she represented safety and sanity. He had to see her again, his Eva.


But Conor didn’t know how to approach her. What did you say to those you had loved and lost? What if she questioned how he had come to return to her? It was an unexplainable mess. 


And so he did what he had always done; he sought solace in the presence of nature’s angels. As the twilight sky turned to grey, he crept into the stables of her castle, revelling in the tranquil presence of the horses’ powerful bodies, soothed by the musky aroma of the animals which surrounded him. He needed time to think, to plan his next move. 


An hour passed. He heard footsteps behind him, quiet and light, as he stood in the aisle. He felt vulnerable, with his exposed back bare to attack. The memories of that day haunted him. But he was no longer young and defenceless. He could fight back. 


Conor let the intruder sneak closer, waiting, waiting… and then, spinning around, he pinned them against the wall, arm across their throat. The dark hood fell away from the shadowy figure’s face. 


Something about the tilt of the head in the weak light seemed familiar, like a memory from a half-remembered dream. The whites of the eyes rolled in fear. “Eva,” he gasped. 


The slight body beneath him relaxed, recognising his voice instantly. “Conor,” she gasped. 


He let go of her immediately, and she flung her arms around him, clinging to the rough material of his cloak. 


“What are you doing here?”


Eva cocked her head to the side. “Shouldn’t I be the one asking you that question?” 


“I came to find you.” 


“Oh.” Eva looked taken aback, as if surprised that anyone would bother. 


He hadn’t seen it instantly, the change in her. A trace of her fire remained, though it was oppressed by the crushing might of her grief, the years spent desperately trying to cling to her husband’s love. She was not the girl he remembered. All of her spark and vitality had gone. The passionate flame which had raged inside of her had been blown out, for her husband, her beloved, had been taken from her. All knew it. All had heard the scandalous tale of the duke who had bedded a princess. Death had wrenched her lover from her arms, but his heart had already belonged to another, and that was the biggest blow of all. The foolish aristocrat must have been the only man alive who did not desire his wife above all other women, though she was fated to love only him.


 “I’ve missed you,” she said simply.


“And I you.” 


They embraced again, the years falling away, taking them both back to the charmed time they had shared. 


Eva began to cry, her tears paining Conor. “I’m so sorry for your loss,” he said softly, “I should have told you that already.”


“I know.” She stroked his hair away from his face, her caress gentle. Her hands were like white silk, cool and pale in the early morning light. As he looked back at her, delighting in their reunion, her expression changed. She leaned towards him slowly, holding his gaze the whole time, then kissed him lightly on the lips. 


Conor responded instantly, his lips moving of their own volition. A memory of Isabel flashed before his eyes, laughing, the sun burnishing her dark hair red. He pulled away guiltily. And then another image assuaged him, of her and Tristan, together. He had wanted her to forget him, but his jealousy still raged inside. If she could move on, then why couldn’t he?


“I’m sorry.” Eva’s voice was small and embarrassed. She looked scared – she was terrified that he would reject her. 


Conor took her face in his large hands and kissed her again, with increasing urgency. He felt her lips smiling beneath his. She took his hand in hers, her face impish, and led him outside. 


As they exited the wooden building, the cold morning air hit them. Invigorated, they started to run together, laughing. Long ago memories flooded back. They ran faster, trying to leave the present behind them, to find some golden land where worry was a foreign concept. They delighted in the strength of their young bodies, too quickly forced to grow up. The cold wind blew away all of their worries and responsibilities, so that for a brief moment they were happy again. 


Eva led Conor into the great hall, the heat from a hundred bodies warming the vast room. No-one stirred as they stepped across their sleeping forms, and made their way quietly up the wooden stairs. The sense of mischief was exhilarating, warming their cold frames. 


Conor paused at the top of the stairs, uncertain. Eva half-turned, glancing at him over her shoulder. She reached a tentative hand towards his silhouetted form, and took a faltering step towards him. “I never thought that I would see you again,” she murmured. Her voice had turned to a strangled croak, and her eyes were damp. She took another step closer. 


“I always knew that I would see you again,” he said absently. There was no thought behind the words, just pure, distracted truth. He could feel his chest rising and falling rapidly. He stepped towards her, closing the gap between them. Conor caught her as she wavered uncertainly, wrapping one arm around her waist. He bent his head, seeking another taste of her lips.


They fell onto her bed together, their bodies merging as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Conor kissed her face, wanting to memorise every inch of her: showering her nose, her eyes, her cheeks, her mouth, with gentle caresses, letting his lips graze down her neck. Her slim frame shuddered beneath him, her desire bringing her to life.


He raised his head as the first soft groan escaped from Eva’s lips. They were face to face. He was lost by the tenderness and desire that shone in her eyes, by the soft curve of her mouth, and the ebony hair which framed her face.


He reached behind her, gently shaking her long, black hair free of its plait. It fell across her shoulders, darker and glossier than the feathers of a raven. The image of a Valkyrie filled his mind. 


Conor undressed her slowly, expertly unlacing her gown, until she was clothed in only the cape of her dark hair. Eva’s skin was alabaster against his hand as he cupped the pale curve of her breast in his palm. 


Languorously, she unfastened his belt, letting it slip through her long, slender fingers. He remembered those talon nails pressed against Jarin's neck, so clean and polished amidst the mess of blood and gore. The hands which cast off his cloak had been steady as she had pronounced him dead. The arms which embraced him were the same arms which had held him together on that terrible, violating day. She nimbly unlaced his tunic, and pulled the linen undershirt over his head. Teasingly, she moved to the string of his hose, her fingers moving deliciously across the warm, hard bulge of his loins. She smiled, and he knew that she would be the one to fix his broken heart. She would be his saviour again, and he loved her for that.


Her naked skin was hot against Conor’s. She slowly sat up and tossed her sable hair behind her back, exposing the slender length of her neck, and the naked curve of her breasts, which were still high and firm after bearing and suckling four daughters. He raised his hand to the dark, pink blush of her nipples, expertly caressing the sensitive skin. She arched her back, sighing softly. 


His hands moved lower, but Eva pushed him aside, forcing him onto his back. Moving over and across, she straddled his thighs. His response was instantaneous, but she smiled slyly, rubbing against him teasingly. She remained terribly, tantalisingly out of reach, until he groaned with frustration and raised his hips. And that was as it had always been, too. 


A subtle smile curved Eva’s mouth as she granted him release. She gently sheathed his straining flesh within the warmth of her body, drawing a long moan from deep within him.


Their love-making was slow and tender, the atmosphere relaxed. There was no rush anymore, for time seemed to stand still. They had been transported back to how it had been, and for a while they could put their fear on hold. When the morning broke, life would resume, but for now it was just the two of them in their own magical world.


Eva undulated slowly, her experience allowing her to keep his body at fever pitch as her own pleasure mounted. As the tide of her lust crested, she moved more swiftly. Sensing her loss of control, Conor’s hand moved down between her thighs, teasing and cajoling. She writhed as her desire redoubled, laying her hands on his chest, burying her fingers in the dark hair which covered his skin. His other hand grasped her buttocks in a strong grip, pulling her down against him. 


He heard her groan cut the air in time with his own, like an ancient battle cry screamed in tandem. He opened his eyes as his body shuddered uncontrollably, and his vision was filled with the sight of Eva glorying in her climax. Her head was thrown back, her eyes tightly shut. Her beautiful, willowy body was arched, the contorted lines as elegant as those of a dancer. A lover’s flush warmed her face and throat and breasts. Sweat gleamed on her skin. 


As her motion slowed, Eva opened her eyes, meeting him stare for stare. She smiled exultantly. Her round breasts grazed his chest as she leaned over him, sending a lazy shiver through his muscled torso. Her hair tickled his stomach. Her lips kissed his gently, softy tracing the line of his cheekbone, until her mouth rested beside his ear. “You are mine, Conor,” she whispered.


He smiled. “You have always been my Eva. You and me, whatever it is that we have, is forever.”


“Forever,” she assented, resting her head on his chest.


As they basked in the afterglow of their desire, Conor wrapped her tiny form in his arms, holding her until the sun warmed their faces. “Why were you there?” he asked her softly, kissing her delicate shoulder. "In the stables."


She turned her face to his. “I couldn’t sleep. My bed felt so empty without him in it.” 


Conor shivered at the thought of the dead man in whose bed he now lay, ravaging his beautiful young wife, whilst the worms crawled in his empty eye sockets.


“Are you cold, my love?” Eva said, moving her small body closer to his. 


She was lying where Isabel belonged, right next to his heart, both of them trying to fill the void which had been left behind by their true loves. Their empty arms sought a warm body to embrace, their broken wings someone to fix them. They needed each other, but it was never going to be enough. 


“Stay with me,” she said softly.


“You’re offering me a job?”


Eva’s fingers gently traced the ridges of his ribs. “No. Stay with me, like this. I want us to be as we were before.”


"A loyal pet?"


"The most loyal." She smiled. "You know how we once were. Must we label it?"


"I am only jesting with you, my darling."


"Don't you miss it?"


"Of course. But how can it ever be that way between us again? I have kept you company before, but I was a boy then, and you were just a girl. We were children."


"It would be better now. You had no choice, before. We may not have shackled you, but you were a captive."


"Yes. A captive." It had been his place though, with her. Inis had not been where he truly belonged, but he had been valued there. He had been more to her than a mere slave.


 "Now you have a choice. I am asking you to stay, but you may choose to go. I would not try to stop you."


“People will talk,” Conor warned her.


“Let them. This is my home, and I want you in it. It can be ours if you wish it.”


“Eva…”


She placed a finger on his lips. Her lovely face was haunted. “I see him beside me. I watched him hang, for I couldn’t let him die alone. He lies beside me every night, but his face is blue and his tongue lolls out of his mouth. I need you to hold me, to keep his ghost at bay.”


Conor nodded, her suffering hurting him. She had been there when he had needed her most, and he would be eternally indebted to her. If she wanted him beside her, to stroke her hair and tell her that everything would be alright in the cold hours of the night, then that’s what he would do. “I promise you that none will part us again."


"I love you, Con," she whispered.


"I love you, Eva.” With all his soul he meant it, but he was speaking to a faded love when it was his blessed Isabel to whom his heart belonged. He was her Naoise, and would always be so. 


© Copyright 2017 Jordana J Sacks. All rights reserved.

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