Chapter 9: Women and Werewolves

He told me not to spurn her, but by the sickness of the deed she did to Sidney I simply couldn't force myself to return to her. It was the first time I couldn't force myself into the presence of a woman who was not my mother, and it made me all the more sick. I had been with so many gutter filth. Disgusting women whom one would sooner assume were members of some mutant species of rat than of the fairer sex. Now, back in my own tent sobbed this beckon of noble beauty and I would sooner poke out my one remaining eye then go and serve her turns. Sidney had obviously dragged me into this little web of twisted passion he had, because I stood now just as I had before, save for in his shoes. No action I was inclined to take made sense to me. She was beyond vulnerable and did truly desire me, but at the same time Sidney felt this way for her. How could he expect me not to hate her for this thing she'd done to him? He was...he was my friend.

I strolled long in the square. Over the passed out bodies of my hessian companions. Drunk or dead, whatever the reason they were passed out I'd seen it more than enough times. I searched around with my single eye until I had located where my white charge had fallen and curled into sleep for the night. I meandered over and slumped myself down beside him, leaning back on the half stump the men had made into a bench. Running and stroking my fingers through Sunshine's hair I attempted to figure out this bizarre concept of actual love before it got the best of me. I was unsuccessful, and it made me upset with Sidney. How could he do this to me? Place me in the middle of his foolish romance like this? He knew I was no good with feeling. He must. I had ben taught to dismiss them, and I'd thrown as much of that as I could manage to throw out in order to feel anything at all towards him, the worthless magi-kine.

I glanced back down at Sunny. Sometime during my thought he'd stirred awake, and was now looking up at me with his brilliant blue eyes with all the charm and innocence the world had seen. He was a child, and I did not hate him. That took my mind of Kathryn for a moment long enough to contemplate that perhaps this was the way those mothers had felt about their children. That preciousness captured in their eyes that I did not observe. I decided then and there that I could not let Sunshine go. He would be mine. My child. I would care for him the way my mother had not cared for me, and be there for him the way my fool of a father had not. That would take my mind of Kathryn. I would mask my dislike and disgust for her with simply being compassionate to this little nonmagical magi-kine, or and unblooded kine as they were more commonly known. I knew this only because I'd found in my time at the church that gypsies were occasionally called unblooded magi-kine and simply figured it must work in reverse. Gypsies are not magical, however, they only wish to be so badly and managed to get their thieving hands on some secrets of the magi-kine. I'll clear that up right now. It should never be allowed to be believed that I have any ties to the magi-kine what so ever, but I prattle on.

I remained there caressing Sunshine for several hours, I'm sure. Until the sun had begun to rise and some of the drunkards around me had started to groan and collect themselves. In a hessian camp the groan of the drunk could be likened to the morning call of the song bird. Greeting the dawn with blinking and bloodshot eyes, praying in his own special little way that the dawn not find him pennyless and without pants, much like the bird should rejoice and awakening and not being eaten my some forlorn street feline or another. A strumpet can easily be likened to a forlorn street feline in this case. Alarming, no? My mind must have appeared as burdened as it truly was, for they did not stir me from my thoughts. Briefly they attempted to feed me. Left over strips from a pig that had been left from the night previous. I'd handed them over to sunny though, and then been left to stare hazily at the ground while my brain ran at a pace which dizzied me. Sunny eventually had to get up and flee for my tent before the sun became to much for him. I looked after him and stretched my fingers towards him as my brain attempted to shove all other things out of my brain very quickly so that I could warn Sunny about Kathryn, but one of my men placed a hand on my shoulder just as my jaw was flapping uselessly while the words attempted to sort themselves out quickly.

"Borujah, Domnul?" he said lightly. The words hadn't worked, but my mind had just reordered itself, thus I whipped around to look at the hessian who spoke yo me. "Lord Ciodaru has requested to speak to you...General." He said. He was young, and stumbled over the word General. I'm not sure even why he used it, but I patted him on the shoulder for it. General, that was what they wanted to call me now? So be it. It was largely preferable to gypsy devil.

I did manage to pry my black metal plated buttocks up from the ground and wrapped by dark blue cape around me, only realizing in this instant the chill that the morning had brought with it. I stumbled my way over what was left of my comrades, and onward towards the Lord's castle. Clinking along the halls that also stung with the bitter chill of morning, I entered his main chamber, which was not guarded oddly enough. Sidney would have pointed it out to me, but he had yet to fully return to normal. I'd left him with his thoughts and it was not something I felt particularly good about any longer. I entered the room, which was no less drafty than the rest of the stone structure that towered around Ciodaru and I, the only people I'd thus far seen. It dawned on me that there were no servants. I'd seen a few scattered about from time to time. All in poor shape and as shabby as street urchin. None now though. Not but the weary looking old Lord and myself confined to a drafty room that I would have been hard pressed to be paid enough to stay in. Dank. The place smelt of mildew and almost rot. Not pleasant corpse rot either. Eroded stone that was growing foul mosses rot. Wooden furniture what appeared to have been of a poor quality even in it's best of times was falling apart and the elderly Lord seemed none to comfortable perched on a chair one could not have convinced me to sit on. He offered me a seat, but fearing to break it with my weight I remained standing.

His voice was hoarse, and I picked up that he himself smelled none to pleasant either. "Borujah, my boy," I did not like being called a boy. Nor his. "The hessians-" he paused in order to smack his tongue against the top of his mouth. "they look up to you now, do they not?"

I shrugged and gave my honest response, "I hadn't noticed."

"They call you general. I think they have taken you as their leader. I have observed the way they adore you. You are young, but they would not fight the vines of control from a lily from under the mountain." He went on with it, and said 'lily from under the mountain' with an almost reverence.

I was not used to this. It was usually spat at me. Though I would not widen my eyes as by mind thought to do. No physical signs are to be shown. "Why do you mention this?"

He tried to smile at me. His face wrinkled as it weakly smiled and I did not like it. Skin folding and creased with old age. I wanted to cut the folds off, bu refrained for my desire to hear his answer. "I would like you to accept the command of them Boujah. Would you do this for me? Then come and see me again. I have further matter which we need to discuss once you can speak for them."

I was beginning to draw lines of worry from the creases of his old face. If he did not make reference to the army, I would have traced them back to Kathryn. Did he know what Kathryn was attempting to subject herself to? I doubted it. None the less all the while when I spun around on my heels and left the castle in order to gather the hessians and speak with them on the matter I can recall none of it. Only that Kathryn now hung in the back of my mind like a sore spot. A growth forming in my throat choking me with pity for my magical friend., and a disgust growing in the pit of my stomach for now being the owner of pity. I should have killed her for making me feel pity. That was all I thought of. For the death of me I can remember not one word that was said between the hessians and I. Not where we talked, and I have no idea how I formulated proper negotiating thought with that succubus invading my brain. She was spreading throughout my system like a toxin, one that I would gladly purge myself of given the opportunity. I thought that I should have her assassinated. Sid would be sad for a time, but surely he would get over it. No, I thought, he will not. I concluded thus on my way back towards Ciodaru's chambers, and only through this did I manage to clear my head whilst stepping through the large doors once more.

He stood over by a table now. One that had scrolls and parchments laid over it in a sheet. I recognized them as commission papers only because the one closest to him bore my seal on it. The same red dragon that I had blazed over my body. I wandered over to stand beside him and without realizing it told him that we had formulated a hessian army, and that the men had named me their general. Had they really? Yes, it must be true.

Ciodaru nodded while he ran his fingertips over my commission parchment and sighed. "I have no money, Borujah. Not enough to pay even an eighth of the men. I had thought...that much of them would die. Afterwards I thought I could get the other Lords to invest...but only the blind one was interested." He sighed again. I could hardly hear it through the blood pounding in my ears. He what?! "I thought that with you in control, a rational deal could be reached?"

I can recall that I thought the skin of my burn boiled with the heat of my blood. I attempted to keep my voice calm, but it seemed quite in vain, "I am not reasonable."

Ciodaru turned to face the side, where I stood, "I could pay you to be..."

I narrowed my eyes, "You have to enough money to make me do financial harm to the men I have agreed to lead, Lord. They will all receive a proper pay."

Ciodaru shook his head and became hostile with me, a bad move on his part, "I told you! I have no finances to pay them."

I chuckled darkly, and recall that with a quick thought my full toothy grin appeared. "Then they will not be paid in money."

Ciodaru's eyes widened, "What are you proposing, Lily from under the mountain?"

I made an attempt, in my sinister thought, to smile sweetly. It seemed all to easy to play on him now. His fear made my decision ll the sweeter. "You shall pay them in flesh. My army, shall receive all the females of your land as payment for the services they have rendered. If they do not, we shall level this territory farther into the ground than the place from which I sprung."

He stood staring black at me after that. Eyes wide and jaw dropped. I can only imagine he

pictured the destruction I had the potential to bring down upon his pathetic and impoverished world. Though I can still only imagine it, I felt I knew the rush of fear that brought his weary old body to a bloodless chill. That shiver of horror that went up his spine was my doing. That unholy look of a dead man who still stood there and breathed radiating out of eyes that were shocked from their ignorant stupor and rested in a weathered face, which was now creased with panic and pain as well as age. He surely had thought he was a father to me, but I lain waste most unrestrained to the man who had been most like a father to me. His wide and devilish grin I felt on my face, with its own sting, but it was a delicious one. My entire dragon shaped burn was made to tingle, and I can honestly tell you even many killings in my life had not felt so right and fulfilling as that instant with Ciodaru. Now I was the Lord, he was at my mercy.

He tried several times to speak. Mouth just flapping at first, but after a moment of sputtering he managed to pathetically put together a thought, "You could not...y-you could not possibly be s-serious."

I narrowed my eye and allowed my grin revert back to a solid and harsh look, "I most certainly can. We could obtain our fees by selling them once my men have had their way. We collect an even better profit by being spared brothel payments."

Ciodaru stammered a minute more, before the old man fell to his knees, "You are a son to me. A trustee. I cared for you, you must not do this!"

His pleading somehow managed to not impress me. I simply offered up to him the deadline of two sundowns from now, and left his hall. I marched triumphantly back to my tent. The buzz still about me from this mental battle I had won, casting off the affections of an old man.

When I got to the tent, however, and was met by a renewed Sidney, a thought twitched about my head which irritated me. Now that the magi-kine had resumed his cognitive state, we decided to address it together. My query was as to why they had selected me as their leader. This group of hessian men with no real sense and so no reason to admire nor respect me had selected me to lead them. Well, to this day I would not have figured it out without Sidney. They saw that I was not entirely incompetent. I had shown to know what I was capable of, and also a certain ferocity that I was now well known for. They thought that with my young age and small stature would come a certain amount of shyness. That I would let them push me around enough that they could get more of what they wanted, but this was not going to be so. The way I saw it I now had a legion of murderers, rapists, thieves and other undesirables at my beckon call as if they were my hunting dogs. Sidney expected that we would meet half way. The men had noticed how isolated I was. Tending to zone out at anytime and succumb to my own thoughts and darkness. So long as I had my food, wine, and a fresh piece of ass now and again I was as happy as the devil in a whore house. I think happy was a strong word, throughout my life I have had a wolf at the back door of my mind. For whatever reason it was there and howling for my blood, but it did exist. I'd prefer the word content.

I was content for many of those days. The nearest to happy I could recall being at the time. The ladies were rounded up and brought to our tents. Crying as if their souls were being sucked from them while they were separated from their husbands and families. Taken into the arms of scoundrels and embraced all over our camp grounds. Those were glorious days. I had been rewarded by the powers that be for my decisions. I must have been. Sidney, my faithful Sidney, was returned to my side. The food and drink were all so much sweeter. Served and prepared by our prizes. Pleasure was delivered under extreme direst, but climax came swiftly and men found it hardly their duty to even be so shy as to enter a tent with open flaps whilst their pants were about their ankles.

Sid, naturally, only noticed that the food was a touch better, and took to staying on his mat in the tent. Claiming that he enjoyed seeing the men at their play even less than he enjoyed participating in these games. He took to keeping notes and scrawling during the day, having his food brought to him. Often he turned in early since he'd decided he had nothing better to do.

I often wandered leisurely through the horde of drunken sex and sobbing wenches. Those days I would catch Ciodaru watching me from a window with the eyes of a man who'd been sent to Hell and now observed the one who sentenced him there. He should like nothing more than to kill me, and I knew it. I could not restrain my grin when the thought came to me, for he knew as well as I that I was invincible. Indestructible and unshakable as the sun in the sky or the mountain under which I was raised. If he could not have me dead he should have at least liked me to not engage my demonic nature in his own court. In his own house I was decimating his subjects. At the same time he knew why I hadn't left yet. Ciodaru knew what I was waiting for and he now employed the tactic of delaying the inevitable as an act of futile defiance. Very well. I was wiling to be patient about this. Kathryn was nothing but trouble wrapped in flesh and both the most intoxicating and irritating woman I had ever met, but she was going to be delivered to me on a silver platter before my boots left that court.

It took weeks. Not months I wouldn't say, but Ciodaru seemed intent to have old age end him before he'd hand over his only child; his sweet treasure of a daughter to me, a one-eyed hessian monster. It was long enough for the men to become bored of having nocturnal pleasure at all hours of the day. The week long orgy had died, and as their General I accepted that it had become my time to teach them a thing or two. Stubborn men kindly pointed out to me that a cycloptic young psychopath couldn't teach a veteran hessian anything. There were my first sparring partners. I was rough with them, but taught them well. Pain can be an excellent teaching tool and I utilized it. Whomever will tell you that Pruissia was the first to have a standing hessian army would be lying to your face, because what I assembled in waiting for Ciodaru's barriers to diminish was easily recognizable as an army. Not, perhaps, large enough to fight other entire countries, but grand enough for any battle on Romanian soil to be thrown at us.

This day in particular an old man had spoken up again, and the spray of the blood from my axe on his shoulder had just caught me across the face. My insides writhed and flared into a mix of near orgasm and blinding rage then, but as I stood with the bloody blade's handle in my white knuckled fists, I heard the old Lord's familiar voice. It sent a cooling wave over my flare, and I slowly glanced over my shoulder. Surely enough, he stood there with a glower on his wrinkled face to cringe a lesser man. At his side stood Kathryn. As fair and fine a feminine form as Eve would have ever dreamed and held inside a very fine and delicate dress. A parting gift from her father, I assumed. It was certainly not meant for my enjoyment, but I got some from it anyway. She had her hands folded in front of her and her face lowered, a position of submission I had not seen her in. She wished to be with me earlier in those weeks. How deliciously distasteful. Ciodaru stood and allowed Kathryn to take steps towards me and my blood splattered armor and flesh until she stood before me. I felt as a demon of Hell had been rewarded with an angel. She looked up at me with puppy dog eyes and parted her succulent lips to speak before Ciodaru cut in and she closed her mouth and lowered her eyes once more.

"I want you to leave," Ciodaru thundered to me. "I want you to depart my lands and to never return."

I smiled and nodded to the Lord. He sneered and spun on his heels to storm back into his keep. Up into the cathedral and left this pride of heaven's treasury in my possession. I could not blame him, for the pain she has caused side and how much a part of me wanted to beat that beautiful bone structure into submission I would have never been able to part with such a beckon either.

I simply stood and faced her, before she jumped. One of the hessians to the side of her had taken it upon himself to wrap filthy fingers around her dress and attempt to pull her hips towards him. In a moment of movement and with out so much of an instant of thought my hand had wrapped around the handle of a frying pan at rest on a stump, which had been a tree in the court before we arrived, next to me. I swung over and the clang of steel connecting to bone rang off into the air. There was a squealing shriek as the man pulled his hand back and Kathryn scrambled behind me to wrap her fingers around one of my shoulders while I glowered at her assailant with gritted teeth.

He looked to me with wide eyes and I growled. Standing up straighter and brandishing my cookware of doom, "All are to keep their hands off this one. All! Not one man is to lay a hand on her, and that will include myself." Oh yes, you couldn't have thought I would turn on Sid so easily, "Should any harm come to her or any man find his pleasure in her than so help me I will personally flog everyone in this camp until I find out who did it, and then they shall answer disobeying the command of their General. Are we understood?" And we were.

Kathryn stayed holding my shoulder all the way back to the tent, and our arrival also marked the first departure of Sid's from the tent in quite some time. He must have been due for some fresh air. Kathryn wandered over to have a seat on my mat while I stood over in the corner of the tent and opened the claps on my shoulders that held my cape to my breastplate. I could feel her eyes intent on my back as I started to undo the leather straps on either side of me that held to the two metal plates to my torso, and so paused and glanced over my shoulder. She quickly looked away and it made me chuckle darkly before I went back to work on the straps.

It was not in me to let her be here without rubbing her face in it. So as I slid black metal up over my head and rested it in the corner. More of my mildly tanned and dragon scared flesh exposed than I had ever thought to show this Kathryn, I was interrupted from my intentions to speak by her opening that charm hole of hers, "I would like to thank you. Thank you for what you did for me back there, Domnul Borujah."

I paused and looked over at her with a raised brow. Well, that was more pleasant than I been expecting this to be. None-the-less I was determined to engage my desire to upset her, "You were set free in too much finery. Your father should have known better, though I'm surprised he finally detached himself from you. Seemed very distant."

She nodded slowly, and I can recall all my blood running out into the floor of my tent when she said, "I told him I wanted to come to you." What?! She did WHAT?! "And it's not his fault. I put this on. He insisted I shouldn't. I just thought that after the way things went."

I cut in now, "You would look pretty and make things better?"

She turned to me with hurt and narrowed eyes, "I only meant to say thank you."

I growled lightly. I know my lip curled as I whirled around and sat in a chair to take my leg armor off and remove my metal boots. It did not even become evident to me that Kathryn that Kathryn had wandered off her mat and over to Sid's corner in order to pick up the water and pitcher he used to keep that serpentine complexion of his clean. She had picked up one of the clothes on the little stick shelf Sid had made to keep them off the ground (ironic that he was still picky about that sort of thing, since he now slept on the ground) and I was not stirred to realize what she was up to until she had kneeled next me and was dipping the cloth in the water and wringing it out. Startled me into a slight jump and I whipped my head to the side to raise a brow at her. She had snuck up on my eyeless side.

"What are you doing now?" I queried. Rather accusingly I will admit.

She continued to look at the cloth, and did not raise her gaze to meet my eye, "Well there is a rather thick layer of grime all over you. It was my thinking that you may desire to wash up some."

I shook my head and went to stand up, "I do not require washing, thank you."

The audacity of that woman, to stand and put her hand on my exposed chest. To push my barrel back the way she did so that I flumped back into my chair. "You are a thick little man who runs about in a suit of armor all day getting covered in blood. You sweat more than cheese in the noon sun and you are covered in more dirt than a farm hand. I'll not be staying with you if you are going to smell like a rotting pile of fish, so you best just clean yourself up. It's not going to kill you."

I narrowed my eye. I must ha should I desire to walk around growing fungus then I will do so. You stay here because you are a payment to me from your ve, "Listen here, you, no wench is going to tell me what to do. I am a -General- and father and not because I'm pleasant smelling company. Further more I am not little!"

Kathryn rose a brow and held the cloth out to me, "Clean yourself off. I promise you that you'll feel better."

It wasn't really such a big deal, but I wasn't going to lose this argument. Certainly not to a girl. A wench even, "I feel fine. I'll clean myself when I'm good and ready and not before." Then the thought came to me, and I smirked. "You just want me to take my pants off."

She gasped and with a huff swung the cloth around and whipped he across my face. My head turned to the side, as she'd caught me on my scar. I sat there for a moment with slightly wide eyes and blinked. She had struck me. This little wench had just struck me. Didn't she know who I was?!

"Now, if you're done being a pompous wind bag we are going to get you cleaned up. If you won't do it yourself then I suppose I'll just have to."

I was still gritting my teeth and had taken my hand to press my fingers to my scar when she wrapped her delicate hand around mine and took it to her in order to wipe it. As usual, my brain divided in two. There was the part that wanted to strangle her now, and yet there was the part that didn't mind this. I insisted that part got it's birth from Sidney, and that would explain why it so greatly overtook the first. I just rose my eye to look at her, as she dropped my hand to take the cloth over my cheek lightly. Removing from me the splatter of blood, and it did not upset me. I normally always had it smeared on my face somehow. I could always smell it, it always made me want to smell more of it. Now it was being taken from me, and the smell was replaced by the beautiful and flowery smell of Kathryn. She smelled of such sweet things, a field of flowers I would have to imagine, for I had never really thought to smell any before. To me it would later be more a field of flowers that smelled like Kathryn.

"Doesn't that feel better?" she asked me, and not even caring about being right any more I simply nodded. Lost in the soupy fog of contentment again. Lost in my own thoughts.

She dipped the cloth again and then moved in to rest one leg on either side of my hips and seat herself on my lap. I was used to this, and yet not. It was all different with this woman, it made no sense. Shew as beautiful, naturally, but she was also obnoxious. Beyond that she was meant to be for Sid, but he had told me not to spurn her. Could I have spurned her then even if I'd wanted to? I told myself yes. At the same time I leaned back slightly as she washed over my chest and abdomen with a touch more light then I could have imagined. It was a caring caress and something I had not experienced in my lifetime. To me Kathryn now stroked me in my tent with her great white angel wings, and it made me feel as if I were flying. She leaned over to dip the cloth in water again and then brought her hand up to the patch on my eye. I jolted slightly, but she insisted lightly that I be still, and without further command I was. She slid the slab of black and steel up off of my head and examined the dirt encrusted under it and around my open socket with a sigh.

"You don't take that off often, do you?" she inquired, and I tried to form words with my lips, but this angel's steal-theivery had taken my breath. I was forced to eventually settle for lightly shaking my head. "You really should. It could get terribly infected."

She began to wipe off the flesh around the porthole to my brain. She was not disgusted by it. She caressed around this abysmal hole as if it were irrelevant, and my good eye had to keep itself on her to believe it. Her face was as porcelain and calm as ever, and she was simply cleaning me up. I felt my breathing hitch in my chest as she lightly brushed over the edge of the socket, and then apologized if she'd hurt me. I felt as if I was dying, and yet I knew I wasn't. I didn't feel invincible, but I felt all powerful. On top of the world. What could I have done to deserve this reward? Or not. No, for as much as I longed to reach forth now and bring her to me I could not. I could not because of Sid, and because I'd told my men. I licked my lips slightly as I watched her face and felt her touch. It was not a reward, it was Hell. Oh Hell. I was in Hell.

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After a few nights that were as sleepless as they were Sidless, it became obvious to me that Kathryn was going to need a tent of her own. Since Sid didn't come back I'd offered her his mat, and then spent the whole night awake myself watching her sleep. I spent the next couple nights in much the same fashion, and decided that the only cure for it was the give Kathryn a tent of her own. Well, not her own. I put Sunny in with her, in order to keep watch, but I couldn't let them men think I was picking a strumpet for myself to pamper at my leisure. Some of the men didn't even have their own tent, so I did the only the men didn't even have their own tents, so I did the only thing I could think of. I made her my Lieutenant. This met with no end of protest from Sidney.

"Why ssss-she?!" he demanded, "Why not ssself?! Ssstood by ssso long, and at firssst chanss-ce, dessser-sss-tion!"

"Did you or did you not tell me to take her into my arms and not to shun her? Did you tell me to show her love, Sidney? That is what I'm doing. How else could I show her I cared better than to keep her from being raped?"

Sid sighed and looked down, but I lifted his chin to look at me with those slitted eyes of his to meet my one. They always looked so abused in those days. The look of a kicked puppy in those eyes of his. In earlier days it would have made me want to punch him, but not now, "To keep her out of my own bed, Sidney. Can you understand that?"

Sid trembled slightly. He cast his eyes downward and away, and then wrapped his skinny arms around me. Lanky and boney appendages wrapping around my thickness. Pressing his ribbed body to my barrel chest and the side of my head as he trembled against me. His gut was right there, my fists were at my sides. They trembled as I thought of clocking him, but I felt a sob take his lanky body and let my fingers uncurl.

"Thank, Borujah," he hissed out lightly next to my ear. It was awkward, and I would not return this action to him. I simply let him have this moment, and then ushered him out of my tent. What love could do to people, it was horrifying.

That wasn't the last I saw of Sidney, but our time together did become rare. He did not take to advising and lecturing me so enthusiastically. When we had a job offer that was over a particular value, he used to practically bounce with the excitement of making so much money. Perhaps it was because of the army now, but he seemed more interested in just giving me the options and pointing out the best one. He wasn't haughty, he wasn't obsessed with payment. To a degree, he wasn't Sid.

Then, battle came to us again.

I was losing Sidney. I had no idea where Sunny roamed these days. I could not lay my lustful fingers (or other aching appendages) upon Kathryn. I had my men. That I had. I had my men and now I would have battle again.

It came as simply as any other had, save for our hessian forces came into the employ of the Romanian royal family. There were unknown to me previously, and thankfully so was I to them. I doubt they would much have liked to have a gypsy in their service, let alone a Lily From Under the Mountain. We were of a flower bed which they had wished to stomp dead, and to know that our roots had leaked away into the soil of their country would have done them no small displeasure. They had figured, I'm sure, that our roots were contained. A terrible oversight for them. Sidney and I dealt with them directly. Often times he walked with me into their halls, not marveling the way he once had. They did not recognize my armor, which was odd because the Prince admired it often. He had once in a while come forward with the wide, innocent eyes of a child to run his fingers over the thorned lily stems and on in to trace the skull as if he were admiring the art of God. Imagination carried away by a child's intrigue in the dark and forbidden depths. I liked this boy. I let him engage his fascination. It would have been rude to just push him away and tell him to keep his hands off me. What with him being in line to run Romania and all.

We were sent to a hill. This would stand us on high ground to slight the reports that these hostiles had higher numbers than ours. They were not hostiles per say, at least not yet from Sidney's assessment. I was told, however, that they were a foreign force who unwelcomely strode onto Romanian soil. That made them hostiles. A mass of the men which the leader of this band had marched in were going to be marching through here in order to get back to the main encampment. We were to see that few of them made it there. These strangers were to get the message that they were not going to tromp all over Romania.

I stood behind the hill atop the black Arabian. Cloak lashing in the breeze along with hair, which vigorously molested my face. It reminded me of standing on the battlements of that fort in winter so long ago. The fort was now Romania. Our castle, or safe haven, our home. She was no longer pitched in winter white, but this time saw the warm embrace of summer. Now was night and it still remained so warm, even the breeze. We saw them moving, all foot soldiers. It made my heart warm, for over half of us were on horseback. We, the cavalry, would charge after the archers shot. Oh, it was a good evening. The thunder of hooves and the clang of metal rippling through the night air were all a man could ask for. When swords cold steel caught modest moonlight and both were bathed in blood. It was elegance, plain and simple. We had been the welcome wagon, to bring them gift baskets of hellfire and brimstone.

Brilliant as it was just being in that blinding moment again. Those instants where I swung my blade and it slit the warm, moist air of summer and spilt the warm moist of human blood. I could hear the 'shing' of it cleaving from air to flesh and back again, and when the soldier in front of me fell my eye was up to see Kathryn across the field finding the same joy. Her eyes blazing, her metal guarded bosom still heaving up into the night air and she thrust a spear down into a Slavic soldier. By my word as a hessian, it was everything in this world I could ever have loved at one instant. Were my heart any fuller it would have exploded. I needn't even force my mind back to thrusting down into the chest of the Slavic who was fleeing where soldiers up ahead were still coming from the hill top. It was all instinct. All primal urges were culminating within me. I was wild and, in that instant, free. It's the first time I can ever remember feeling like I was released from my diminutive shell of a body. For all my invincibility I'd always felt more trapped by it than empowered. In this moment, despite that blood had just squirted up onto my face and now slithered down my cheek in a warm blend with the perspiration that ran rivers off my brow, I felt as if I were not in a fight. The fight was not haunting and following me the way it always seemed to. I did not have to be in this moment or in this violence. This fight did not own me. Kathryn had set me free and, as surely as there was blood and salt sweat on my lips, I loved her for it.

I spit the fluid on my lips into the wide eyed terror of a fleeing Slavic before I viciously sliced off his head.

Blood splattering only over my chest armor, as I turned my horse to the side once doing so. Not bothering to watch either head or body fall. Glancing around in the darkness I could no longer see Kathryn, but I could see the unwaking work of my cavalry strewn over the landscape. So with narrowed gaze and determined instinct telling me to find my alpha female. So I did. I gave that jet black coated arab beneath me a swift boot and were took off across the ground that was now made of armor rather than turf. His thick metal shoes had long been taken into drilling spikes, so he mutilated and squashed all flesh he came in contact with, and I could hear the occasional shriek of tearing and mashing metal as we trampled armor in order to get over to the other hill. The cavalry had, as I only then remembered I had ordered, slaughtered all in their path as they crossed the valley and then climbed the other hill and waited there for me. I rode up halfway to join my Lieutenant who was surveying the scene we left behind us.

Arrows sticking up out of the fallen like they had been felled by their own tombstone. We'd created a river of blood through the center of the valley and it ran in a trickle through the valley. All collecting to move down through the night blued grass that sprung from the deep dirt of our Romania towards the column of smoke that rose up from their main encampment off in the distance. We were told to stay away from there, but my horse fidgeted and voiced the same thought I had as my eyes rose to see the sight. He sought more blood, and so did I.

Slowly I leaned forward and slid my gauntlet over his sleek black neck. Hushing him before I turned back to looking at the smoke.

"Ease, my pet," I spoke. Loud enough that my men could hear, for it was more for them than the creature beneath me. "They'll not challenge Romania further. They wouldn't dare."

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((Author's Note: This Chapter has been split into two parts. One reason...is because it's been the longest time since I posted anything for this...and that's not cool. It is, at this point, long enough to be a postable chapter...and I have still a long way to go before I'm done the actual chapter. So for all those who are impatient...You win xD ))