The Crying Blade
The Crying Blade
Deirdre lay buried beneath warm blankets on a soft bed meant to bare royalty. Her dreams were twisted fragments of dark memories and things that could never be. Claymores clashed in horrid battles where men from her clan fell fighting an unstoppable force in her dreams. Loved ones, friends, even strangers she hardly knew fell beneath the relentless blade of the warrior who plagued her every resting moment. Strong arms weld the long true edged Claymore against all of her defenders nightly. She was always forced to watch as the demon warrior, with hair as black as a starless sky which hung in an unruly mane to his waist, would toy with her defender giving both her and her unfortunate swordsman false hope. Then he would smile at her from beneath his warhelm and set out to end the battle. He had never lost in all of the many long years he had sword-danced in her dreams. As her hero would lay dying or dead, the warrior would approach her with his sword pointed at her as he moved with a hunting cat's grace. When he would reach her, he would tower over her and she'd fell his eyes rake over her, as she stood, unable to run. He would smile down at her, the subtle fangs where his canines should be would be glimmering under the dream-light, and in a seductive, breathy whisper, he would say, "All that would stand between us will die by my keen blade. We are mates, you and I. None can stand between us and survive, my love." Then he would pull her hair back and kiss her. The stinging pain from his teeth upon her full bottom lip always quickly overshadowed the pain from his hands in her hair, as he sunk his fangs into her. She always awoke with a whimpered start after this and often found she had bit her own lip open in her sleep. For the last few weeks, the nightmares had played endlessly in her fevered mind. She had vaguely felt the gentle hands touching her a few times, but they were ghostly caresses in the reality of her nightmares.
Geoffrey chased the women away and sat by her bed in a chair he had personally carried up from the library so he could be near her and read in comfort. The book of military battles of the past lay open on his lap as he stared at the restless form of his bardic angel. Her eyes danced under pale eyelids watching some unknown scene play out as he smiled at her sadly. The book fell from his lap to the hard stone floor and the spine broke as he leapt to his feet when she screamed "No" and tried to flee from her sickbed. He flew to her bedside and began cooing at her to calm her. She was trying to pull the blankets off with terror in her eyes. Geoffrey could tell that she wasn't aware of where she was, the dreams still had her. He caught her hands and tugged her against his chest as he continued to comfort her.
"It's alright. You're safe. Shhhh... Deirdre, please. You're safe. Shhhh..."
"Where... Where am I?" She whispered hoarsely, her eyes wide and filled with the terror of her dreams. Geoffrey smiled when he heard her voice and kissed the top of her head.
"You are in my home, my sweet. You are safe, I promise." Deirdre blinked a bit as the room came into focus. Dark stone walls, golden torches glowing from their sconces and the warm fire crackling reassuringly from the vast fireplace which filled the far wall brought her back from her dreams. Geoffrey's strong arms held her close and she could feel the faint stubble on his chin against her face. She pulled back a little and looked up into her guardian angel's face. He smiled down at her, she could see the fatigue and worry on his face. Her weak smile seemed to help him a little.
"Should I get the wenches? Do you need anything? Food? Water? A bath?" Geoffrey warbled as he stood and headed towards the door. She chuckled to herself and raised a weak hand towards him.
"Wait. Yes, I would like a bath and maybe some food. Thank you, my prince."
"Geoffrey. I want to hear you call me Geoffrey." He said as he stood in the now open doorway. His back was to her but the tense muscles betrayed the need he felt. She grimaced as visions of her demonic "lover" danced through her mind.
"Geoffrey." She said softly but the sadness that he too would fall prey to her ageless enemy, time, crept into it. He seemed not to notice the sorrow and nodded as he left her chambers. Moments later, the wenches scurried in with buckets of warm water and a large wooden tub. It took a long time to fill the tub, Deirdre spent the time smiling softly at the women assigned to care for her and softly humming to herself. The women continuously glanced at her out of the corners of their eyes, their curiosity about the mysterious bard was all they whispered about. She gave them little new information to add to their rumors. She supposed that they believed her a powerful magic user who had bespelled their prince. Perhaps they believed that she was a spy from Greystone who had wormed her way into his affections. It didn't matter to her. As long as they didn't hurt her, she didn't care what they thought of her. When the tub was filled with hot water, she walked over to it with legs that were weak and trembled to disuse. The women helped her out of her sleeping gown and into the bath. She gently shooed them away help after that and whispered that she wanted to soak until the water had cooled. A few of the women chuckled that it would not take long and Deirdre asked that they add a few logs to her fire so she could hope it lasted a tiny bit longer. The women left after doing as she asked and the bard sunk beneath the steaming water happily.
It had been over two hours since the women had left her room, Geoffrey was worried that she might be too weak to summon them back. After knocking softly and hearing no reply, Geoffrey opened the door to her room slowly. The tub sat full of water which had firelight dancing upon its nearly perfect surface and as he watched she slipped from under the water with a gasp and a chuckle.
"Oh, this feels so good." She said to no one but herself, unaware of her visitor. She raised a leg out of the water and watched the water fall in twinkling droplets back into the tub. With a laugh, she slipped back beneath the water. Geoffrey watched as the water stilled and then before he could panic, she rose from the water again with a sigh. She seemed to shiver a bit and then sighed.
"It's getting cold again." She muttered and lifted her bare arms over her head. The language that Geoffrey had heard her sing in before filled the room as she sang the same four lines over and over. Within the safety of the stone fireplace, the flames leapt and the room rose a few degrees. The water within the tub slowly had steam begin to rise from it again. She lowered her arms as she finished one final verse and sighed contentedly. Geoffrey had suspected she was a magic user after her sudden exit in the forest so long ago, but to see her so casually fling magic about was startling. She rested a few more minutes before sighing sadly.
"Time to get out and see what mess I have found my way into now."
"I would hope that the wenches were keeping your room neat enough not to be classified as a mess, sweet bard." Geoffrey purred as he slipped over to his chair by her bed. Deirdre snapped around in the tub sending water spilling over its edge and onto the stone floor. She blushed and sank lower into the water. Geoffrey frowned as she did this as he'd hoped he'd be allowed to see more of his bardic muse. Her eyes sparkled as she watched him and he watched her. Then, quiet suddenly, she stood and stepped out of the tub without modesty.
"If you will not leave, I have no choice but to dry myself with you here." She chuckled as she pulled the warm towels from their place near the fire. Geoffrey blinked, as she stood there with not but a towel between them smiling. *Seductress.* She smiled and dried her hair by the fire. Geoffrey made no move from the chair and she made no move to approach him seemingly busy with drying herself off. When her hair was mostly dry and she was wrapped in a thick towel, she padded across the floor and sat on her bed.
"So... Geoffrey. What am I to where or do you prefer I stroll about your palace in a towel... Or less." She paused for effect. It had an effect. Geoffrey stood and stepped over to her and slipped a hand into her damp curls. His kiss was passionate but gentle and Deirdre allowed him into her bed as he'd already captured her heart.
Vector chuckled from his tower as he watched her seduction of Geoffrey. What she planned was not clear to him but he was sure that she'd recognize him as a more powerful magic user even without his monocle. Her plans may be ones he would care to support. He would wait for his time and approach her. After all, magic users were, after it was all said and done, one people amongst mortal fools. He left the lovers to their pleasures and left to answer yet another annoying summons from Dirk.
Deirdre lay in Geoffrey's arms very much awake but unhappy nevertheless. The prince had been a gentle lover full of passion, but she knew that he would tire of her and she would leave. She would travel to town after town selling her songs and in a few years she'd return to find him old, widowed and the father of many royal children. She'd still be the same age as she was now and he'd be near death. *And the blade falls.* She shivered with the thought and hugged Geoffrey as he slept. Sleep came for her too and pulled her back into her nightly hell.
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