Click… chink! “Damnit!” was what woke me; I drew in a deep breath and pushed myself up halfway before realizing Elethor was not beside me. I had been lying on my stomach and now I grabbed the sheet before twisting, my eyes trying to focus in the diffuse half-light that was Asmodae’s morning sun streaming through the windows. Elethor stood behind his desk flipping through a ledger, poised now mid-motion with his attention on me. It was Dark that had woken me. He sat in the chair before the now cold hearth, my chain hauberk over one of his large knees pliers fitting awkwardly in his large clawed hands as he tried to manipulate fresh links together and repair the damage done to it.
I held the blankets and sheets to my chest and preserved my modesty the best I could but the large man was focused on the armor in his lap and not on me. Something for which, I was ever grateful. Elethor rounded his desk and came toward me, gliding across the many rugs with a boneless liquid grace that I remembered and had always envied. It made me smile and when I smiled it made him smile, his eyes crinkling at the corners and in that moment, to me he was beautiful.
He climbed up onto the bed beside me and kissed me gently which did make Dark look up and say with a wicked grin, “Hey none of that now… Let me at least get Dracia in here,” which he promptly repeated in Asmodian for Elethor as my face burned red. Dark laughed a deep rich sound that filled the room even as the door opened and Dracia edged in with a full tray in her hands. She looked at Dark confused and said something, he replied and she looked over at us raising an eyebrow. She kicked the door closed and set the tray on the table near the windows.
“Elethor…” I said face burning with shame at my exposed state.
“Oh! Right… I’m sorry.” He kissed my temple and got up speaking to the other couple in the room. They both looked at him surprised and astonished, Dracia commented and Dark set his work aside getting up. He took her by the elbow and steered her out into the hall way, giving me a wink as he closed the door behind them. I didn’t think it was possible to turn any deeper of crimson, but that wink proved I could. Elethor smiled at me and brought me my freshly laundered and mended breeches and shirt. I scrambled out of bed and dressed quickly while he spoke.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t think. We of Asmodae aren’t as modest as the Elysian’s apparently. Forgive me?” I may have thought he was sincere but he could not keep the grin from teasing at the corners of his mouth. I frowned, and in a mock-stern voice told him,
“With that devilish grin of yours I wish I could be inclined to believe you but no… I don’t forgive you; you will have to ask Aion to do the forgiving.” I stuck my tongue out at him as he laughed at me and pulled on my greaves and boots. Eyeing my hauberk which was still somewhat in pieces by the chair Dark had occupied the same chair that had engulfed me the night previous but now seemed so diminutive after seeing his massive frame in it. Elethor went to the door and let them in when I was presentable, standing at his scrying mirror with a brush and my combs, setting my hair into place.
“I liked you better before.” Dark said with clear disappointment followed by a sharp “Ow!” uttered simultaneously with a meaty smack. I turned to see him ducked to the side, Dracia with her arm out stretched, and scowling at him. “She doesn’t even know what I said!” he complained “What is she smacking me for!?” I raised an eyebrow at him and inclined my head as gracefully as I could towards her.
“Are they always like this?” I asked my beloved as he poured me a glass of a rich dark juice from the pewter pitcher on the tray. He handed it to me as he said,
“Nearly always, amazing isn’t it?” I hid my grin with the tankard and took a swallow. The clear love and devotion these two displayed was just that… amazing.
The four of us breakfasted at the small table, and I could not help myself but to stare for almost the entire meal out the bank of windows, that had until now always been covered by thick, black velveteen drapes. The landscape outside looked crisp and cold but was absolutely breathtaking in its beauty.
Elethor must have said my name, more than once because I startled when he laid his hand on my arm, waking from my own thoughts as if from a dream.
“Sirona are you all right?” he asked me eyes gentle and worried. I smiled at him and laid my hand over his.
“I’m fine, it’s just so beautiful here,” I commented, my eyes straying back to the serene snow capped mountains. “I just wish it were warmer.” I said with a mock shiver. He laughed and we returned to our meal.
“I’ll have that armor fixed just inside the hour, in fact,” Dark said heaving himself to his feet, “I’ll finish it up now. Damned links are so small; I’m used to plate not this flimsy chain crap.” He sat down and started working with my Hauberk again and this time I went over to inspect his work. I knelt on the floor beside him and examined the links he had replaces, very impressed.
“This is really good.” I said blinking up at him. He grinned in appreciation and Dracia made a comment, he replied and the room was quiet again… He worked on my chain, and Dracia sharpened her swords and I set about cleaning up from our meal while Elethor checked his figures in his ledger one last time. It was almost an idyllic morning for us all when the door to the chamber burst inward, opening wide to smack against the wall. Dark was just setting the last link in my chain and looked up with the meanest expression I had ever seen on a man while Dracia leapt from her seat, fading into seemingly nothing. Elethor’s jewel spun fiercely between his outstretched hands and I simply stood there, calmly my prayers fluttering against the roof of my mouth begging to be spoken aloud.
Billy stood in the doorway disheveled a stricken look upon his face and called out to Elethor, everyone relaxed imperceptibly as the words began to pour from his mouth… I didn’t know what was happening, but I knew in the deepest recess of my heart that whatever it was, it was not going to be good.