*** MILLENNIA’S POV ***
In my finally peaceful sleep I feel spooned by a hard body. It protects me, gives me safety. Despite I can hardly move and see him, I know, it’s Eirik. His aroma of moos and woods covers me.
- My love, you came.
I murmur, not opening eyes. I brush his cheek lightly with my fingertips trying to touch lightly not to wake him up. He moves lightly under my touch of his lips and I look up at him. He has dark spots under his eyes, lost weight a bit though his hard muscles I feel through the clothes he wears.
- Silva told me hundreds times, you will find me, no matter where I am. It was hard to believe, but she is always right. At the end she is an elder.
I lay my head back on his chest. He breathes steadily. I close my eyes and tug him closer diving in his forest scent.
Oh, Eirik.. Last time I saw you we had unfinished talk. You don’t understand why I run from you, why I hide. It looked right at that time in such a way to keep peace and all of us alive. But that feeling of terrible loss when I found you in a burned forest.. I swallow a hard lump of tears. I died from inside seeing you there almost lifeless and I promised me to stop running from you, from our fate. Here we are. No matter what or where, we are again together under the twinkling stars. Without war. Without threatening attempts. Without stupid little human attacks. My hand slides down my tummy.
- Humans.. Eirik..
I lightly shake his large body, but he doesn’t wake up.
- Eirik! Eirik, our baby!..
I slide out of his embrace with shaking legs. He moves but sleeps peacefully. It’s so clear he is exhausted and needs rest. How long I was sleeping? I swipe that though quickly away.
- I have to find our child. I will be back, love. Have a rest.
I brush his hair lightly enjoying the feeling of softness, seal my promise with a kiss on his cold lips and quickly find my way down the mountain.
- We have a baby, my love. Somewhere..
My feet go down and more down. Where am I? What is this place? Damn! How did I get here? Snowy mountains and their peaks surround me. Nothing is seen down the clouds. I look for my way between sharp rocks. In most places I can’t run or jump. I slide rocks down. It consumes time but at least I’m getting down closer to my target. Someone in the castle or woods has to know where my baby is. I climb down the puffy clouds and scan the surroundings. Down there starts small greenery and some bushes. More further I could reach the woods. My baby is not there. I am sure. It couldn’t survive alone in a wildness. My heart squeezes and aches. On wood’s left side starts a blue sea.
- Eirik, wait for me. I will be back.
I repeat a promise as the sea always reminds me of him. I didn’t know I was far from home, from my castle. It should be right there. I climb grey rocks and into my eyes horisont land our water damps. As a familiar way starts I rush jumping towards my home. I cross almost flying castle’s grounds and take a sidewalk not wishing to meet anyone. I am covered well by the shadows of green alley. I pass lots of men and women taking care of their night routine. They are busy and not paying attention to me. I turn the corner close to my private bed chambers.
- Where do you think you are going?!
He addresses me, but I don’t stop and even quicken my steps.
Guard tries to stop me reaching for my arm. I jump the trees and try to hide myself between the web of branches and leaves. He calls for reinforcement and they all spread under the trees, some run between branches or on the crowns of the trees. I know this place too well and quickly find a safe hiding place inside a tree covered by the tree leaves. I see them passing me through and sign, just in my mind as I am trying to not give away my retreat. As they lost my track I found myself in the middle of a green garden. Looks like we have a master-handed gardener. He lived my dream through. I stop to admire, pick a bloom and take in its smell. What a temporary and vulnerable beauty.
Andvari’s voice meets my ears. My eyes lighten. He is one of those close to me, one of those few I trust.
I enter the edge of the meadow and stop in my tracks. Andvari trains a boy here. His head reaches Andvari’s hips. Body is sleek but well built, pale skin and shining eyes. Both of them hold combat axes. Andvari’s skin is sweaty, shirt is open and it exposes his chest, his muscles clench reacting to his moves. My eyes roam down his body. Andvari nods and attacks. Boy dodges. Andvari uses his axe once again and the boy blocks it. Not bad at all. His movements are flow. He shows promise. He tries to control the attacking hand but gets a blow from another attacker’s hand. He slumps to the ground but Andvari doesn’t stop his attack. Boy dodges and returns on his feet. Now he aims with the blade. As the attack is blocked by the handle, he aims with his elbow and then joins with the axe’s butt. Ouch, that should hurt!
- I’m sorry, Andvari. Do you need a woman’s hand?
He jumps on his feet instantly forgetting the pain. I greet him with a smile.
- You, boy, teach my friend a lesson.
I point to Andvari almost running towards me. I join him at half way. He sweeps me off my feet and swirls me in the air laughing.
- You are back!
His eyes roam my body with concern and his hands follow.
- How are you? You just disappeared, Rhia.
As he finds no signs of damage, he pulls me closer so strong that I have to lean my cheek against his masculine chest.
- I worried. I worried so much, Rhia.
Andvari whispers next to my ear holding my head’s back and kissing my temple. I am covered by his strong hands and hear his hammering heart.
He makes a bit of space between us not letting me completely go.
- I was afraid that I lost you, Rhia.
He pulls me back to his chest brushing lightly my back. I place my palms on his chest making a gap between us. My fingers brush his sweaty sticky hair to the sides, opening the view for his beautiful darkened eyes.
- I am here now. Where are others? Silva? Fergus?
He cups my cheeks holding my gaze. His eyes are set on fire.
- Do you want to meet him?
He points at the boy still patiently standing back to us and mastering his moves.
- He is sure to be a promising future warrior but now I have to meet others. Join me.
- I am glad you like the boy.
I tilt my eyebrow turning back to him. He is not coming. Some strange feeling rises in me. Did I miss something?
- He is yours, Rhia.
He smirks. His smile shines as a sun but my eyes land on a sleek body nearby. Boy masters his skills and at this moment aims to the tree truck with his axe. I take out at a light speed my dagger attached to my tight and let it fly at the axe’s target. Both guns cut the wooden trunk at the same time just an ant each from another. Boy turns toward me instantly with wide opened eyes.
I nod and two tears escape my eyes. My boy?! We join in a tight hug. He smells well. He feels well against my body. Oh spirits, he is well.
- Silva drew me your dagger. She told me, you will come back.
I brush his hair from his eyes up but they messy runs and finds their places. He has my eyes, my cheeks, my father’s hair.
- Oh, spirits! You grew up!
- Mom, that’s what kids do.
- Right, love, right.
I tug him again in a hug.
- I’m Toke.
I let a small laugh. It makes him confused. Damn, I don’t know how to talk to a child.
- I am sure Silva named you if you tell, she is alive.
I try to explain myself gently. He nods.
- That’s a strong name for a descendant of the throne.
- Where is dad? Did he also come back?
I share a short look with Andvari. They didn’t tell him anything. I return my gaze to the son.
- Toke, one day you will meet him.
I feel Andvari’s gaze hot on my neck side. Toke looks hurt and darts his head down. A huge lump glues my throat. There are so many questions I am not prepared to answer.. I don’t want to lie.. But can I tell him the whole truth? I brush his cheek softly and pull him in a hug.
- I miss him too, Toke. He will come.
I whisper him and his hold on me becomes stronger. Eirik, we have a son. I have to tell you. I look back at the mountains.
- Will you train with me, mom?
I throw one more short look at the mountains. Eirik..
- Save your heart!
I chuckle. He is adorable.
- You already have mine, Toke!
- It’s not what I meant, mom.
He fumes. Oh, hormones of the teanageres.. Probably I missed already his baby time and now I will have quickly to adapt to my child getting older.
- But it’s true.
- Rhia, watch out!
Andvari warns me as Toke attacks me from the side.
- Andvari! Don’t help her!
- Sorry Toke, she is my woman. When you will find yours, you will do the same.
We both laugh, just Toke looks irritated.
- Don’t pout, son. In a real battle it’s often you alone against many.
- Did you fight in a real battle?!
- No doubts, son.
Toke’s eyes quickly check Andvari.
- Andvari says it’s not for women.
- It’s not about men or women. And it’s not what I like to do. Sometimes it just has to be done.
- Someone forced you?
My son stalks every move looking for an opening. Andvari trained him well.
- No. As royals we are responsible for many others. We make decisions and have to be ready for the outcomes.
- But you could die!
- Death is not what I am afraid of.
He makes a pause considering my words. Or I hope so.
- I will fight for you.
- We have to fight our own battles. You will be able to fight next to me.
His face lightens.
- Let’s turn out for the night, Toke.
We bow for each other showing respect. Andvari prepared him well as a warrior, he is herself, but my son is much more and I’ll need to give him lessons of other kinds. Both of them head to prepare for a restock. My feet take a turn back to the mountains. I speed up to find the nest and a man of my life. There is not so much time and the sun will be up soon. Eirik will be happy to hear the news. We have a wonderful son!
I struggle to climb. My nails are broken and bloody as wounds have no time to heal. I rubbed my knees and elbows. The whole body is sore as I reach him.
- Eirik, we have a son.
I say breathless as soon as I see the nest. There is no answer. I crowl nearer. He is not here. I check around for the footsteps, try to smell and to hear him. He is not here. My heart is breaking into small sharp dangerous pieces.
My voice echoes and a few bits of snow roll down hitting me. I hold onto snowy rock.
- Eirik! Don’t leave us!
It echoes but brings only cold. My heart breaks. I decided stop running. I’m yours. He is ours. Eirik.. My heart squeezes while my eyes shadows in tears. Emptiness starts to creep up my spine with a cold and later a freeze. I feel the last feeling leaving my body.
- When will I see you again?
Continue reading chapter 20