|One Night (standard:fantasy, 4291 words)|
|Author: Melody||Added: Feb 15 2001||Views/Reads: 2375/1320||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A bard muses over his past and a lost love, as well as the new bittersweet happiness he has found. I would greatly appreciate any feedback and voter response. Thank you for reading.|
Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story years ago. He was beaten and tortured then sentenced to public execution. As he lay in his cell, several nights before he was to die, he heard a soft click as the door swung open. He looked up and gray eyes met blue eyes. With strong but surprisingly gentle hands Treeana pulled him to his feet and quietly ushered him out. As they made their way back through the darkened dungeon he was amazed at the many dead guards they stepped over. Treeana had come like a shadow of death in the night, risking her life for him. They almost made it out. Somehow an alarm had been sounded and as they rounded the last corner more than a dozen guards closed in on them. She fought brilliantly and with a savagery he had scarce seen before. Together they took out seven of the men before they were subdued. Kicking and screaming they drug her along with him back to his cell. Battered and bruised the guards tossed them back inside with many a curse as they slammed the cell door shut. Drandon looked at her silently not knowing what to say to this woman who had cursed him for so long then risked so much to rescue him. He was stunned when she began to laugh, but it was a cold, dead laugh. She continued for quite awhile before it slowly tapered off into silence. Turning to him her blue eyes glinting in the dim light she spoke. "Can you believe that I am to be executed within a few days time for the one noble act of my life?" Again she laughed though it was softer this time. "I am wanted for real crimes in so many places and this...this is how I die." She tossed her head back and threw her arms wide, gesturing broadly. "I'm sorry Treeana." His voice was quiet as he laid a hand on her shoulder. She spun about her blue eyes hard and cold. "Remove your hand from me!" Treeana's words came out in a hateful hiss. Before Drandon had a chance to lift his hand from her person she slapped it away. "You should be sorry you damn fool bard. It was your obvious ineptitude that landed us in this mess." She leveled her biting gaze on him and sneered. "How is this my fault milady?" Drandon's tone held a quite mocking. He walked over to the far corner of the small cell and sat down, leaning his back against the cold steel of the iron bars. Folding his arms across his chest he watched the angry mercenary. Treeana stalked toward him her gait that of a hungry cat on the prowl. She stopped a few inches from him and kicked the bottom of his booted foot. "As I said it was your ineptitude. It surprises me not that I must spell it out for you. You knew that you were still wanted in Niannon and yet you allowed yourself to get caught. You were not careful enough and obviously you did not use what resources you had at your disposal." Her triumphant smirk made him want to slap her. Drandon leveled his calm gaze on Treeana. " I did not want to get caught. I did not realize that they still searched so diligently for me. I must ask however, my dear Treeana, why did ye come to my rescue?" He arched his brow awaiting her answer. She sighed angrily as she ran a slender hand through her long black curls. "We have a partnership. It would not have been beneficial to our mission to allow you to die." Drandon's quiet laughter filled the tiny cell. "Is that all that ye can come up with Treeana?" His gray eyes were filled with amusement as he looked at her. Treeana scowled angrily as her fist shot out catching Drandon on the chin and knocking his head back against the iron bars. "This is your fault!" Her blue eyes held only a malicious anger as she glowered at him. "Had you not been acting like a careless amateur we would not be here!" Drandon picked himself up off of the floor, rubbing the spot on his chin where Treeana had hit him. "My fault? Hmmm...yes it is never your fault is it milady? It is never something tragic that simply happened. Ye must always place the blame on another." Drandon's gray eyes bored into Treeana. With a feral growl and clenched fists she spun on her heel and walked to the middle of the cell. After a moments pause she began pacing about the small enclosure. Her blue eyes darted to every nook and cranny, her gaze scanning for the slightest imperfection. "There must be a way out of here, if only I can find it." He found her strong willed persistence heartening if not heart breaking at this desperate hour. "Treeana..." his voice was low and hollow," Believe me milady, there is no way out. Do ye not think I've tried?" Drandon watched her as she pointedly ignored him, continuing her probing and prying of the cell. Her slim fingers dipped into every crack, and she pulled at every loose bar. All was to no avail. After a good hour of attempts she paused, standing in the middle of the cell, she looked at Drandon. Treeana sighed heavily and leaned against the stonewall. "It appears that we have found our new home." Her normally hard and icy expression seemed to have softened slightly. The bard smiled wryly as he slowly stretched. "Aye welcome to my home Treeana." Drandon bowed to her a teasing grin on his handsome features. " I wish I had more to offer ye milady but alas King Roland does not see fit to provide me with more than just enough to keep me alive." Treeana snorted and rolled her eyes. "Well you're the bard. Entertain me." Drandon shrugged and spread wide his hands. "What would ye have me do? I could juggle daggers for ye. Oh no wait they took my daggers. Hmmm... Mayhap I could cast spells for your amusement. Ah but foolish me! I used up my spells trying to save myself from being captured and of course they continue to ignore my requests for the return of my spell book so that I may memorize new ones." Drandon watched her his expression impassive. "Oh if only I could think of some way to amuse the not-so-easily amused Treeana." Drandon leveled his gaze on Treeana and arched a brow. " I am not here for your amusement nor am I here for ye to vent out your anger and frustration." Treeana narrowed her eyes and scowled. " I get the point Drandon." She turned away her gaze moving upward to the very small window, at least fifteen feet up the wall, so very out of reach. Drandon studied her for a moment as he sat down on the dirty floor, resting his back against the stonewall. "We could talk. In fact I don't see any other options." Treeana exhaled a disgusted sigh. "And what would we talk about? I have nothing to say to anyone, especially you." Drandon's chuckle filled the damp air of the cell. "I believe that there are volumes inside of ye milady just waiting to be brought forth. For instance ye could tell me what led a young girl of 18 summers to the Zhentarim." Treeana spun about shock etched upon her features. "WHAT?! How did you find out...?" Her sentence trailed off lamely as she looked at Drandon sitting there so nonchalantly. The bard shrugged. "Ye've made a name for yourself as a fine mercenary Treeana. It wasn't as hard as ye'd think for me to root up information about your past." Treeana gritted her teeth and shook her head, her long black hair whipping about her face. "Wonderful! I suppose you went and told that damn paladin brother of yours as well as everyone else we know?" Drandon smiled a little as he watched her. "Nay I did not. Do ye always expect everyone to stab ye in the back Treeana? I have no desire or reason to tell anyone of your past. What little I know that is." His gray eyes settled upon her as if searching for even the slightest crack in her chilly veneer. Her expression remained as impassive as ever. Drandon sighed and a long moment of silence filled the drafty interior of their prison. When Treeana spoke her voice was low yet it held a tinge of long repressed emotion, brought on by the desperation of their situation. "I was young and alone. My village had been destroyed, almost all of my people killed, and our chieftain, my father, lay cold upon the ground. The mantle of leadership was now mine and mine alone. When I gazed into the imploring faces of the thirty score barbarians that had survived, I had no answers. I didn't know what to do. And suddenly I discovered that I didn't care." Drandon looked up at Treeana his features etched with surprise. He had never heard her speak at all of her past let alone so freely. He had not even known of her barbarian lineage, though it did explain much. Silently he gazed upon her willing her to continue. Treeana stared at the worn stone of the cell wall as she spoke; yet she did not see what was in front of her. The memories of her past unfolded before her eyes, like the petals of a long sleeping flower. "I turned away from them in silence and began rummaging through the rubble of what had once been my home. I found little, but what I did come across was of value. A few items of clothing and some water skins and a little food were all that I needed. I took my father's sword from his cold hand and girthed it about my waist. I was even more surprised when I discovered my father's horse unharmed. I swung myself onto the horse's back and it was then that I addressed my people." "My words rang hollow even to my own ears that day. I am not your leader. I have no wish to be and there is no reason for me to take my place as your Chieftain. Our tribe has been under attack on and off for years. If it has not been Ogres it has been warring tribes of our own people. This land is cursed and so are we. I am leaving this place and I suggest you do the same." "With that I turned and rode off into the day. I made my way toward the land of the elves, to Jada and her mother. I had nowhere else to go. I recall very little of the journey and I really couldn't tell you how I even reached the door step of my half sister's home. I will never forget the look of grief and anguish on their faces when I told them of the massacre of my people. Jada's mother had never stopped loving my father you see." "I slept for about a week and then with a simple goodbye I left and made my way out into the world doing the only thing I knew how to do. I became a sell sword and I've been making a damn good living at it ever since." Their silence lay like a heavy blanket upon the tiny cell. Treeana closed her eyes and leaned her forehead wearily against the cold stonewall. The roughness of the stone scrapped her forehead but she paid it no notice. Drandon watched her a myriad of emotions stirring his soul. He had known little of her past, and as he gazed at her he marveled at the guilt that lay thick upon her heart. Slowly she opened her eyes and turned her head toward him. Her expression was stark, completely devoid of any emotion. "That is what led a young girl of 18 summers to the Zhentarim. They were able to put the finishing touches upon my training. They made me into the elite mercenary you see before you." With a mocking bow she swiftly turned her back to him so that he would not see the pain creeping into her eyes. Drandon had rarely in his life felt at such a loss for words. "Treeana..." He had no idea what else to say so he left her name hanging between them in the stale air. "Don't try and give me your pity because I don't want it!" The biting snap was creeping back into her voice. She wheeled around to face him her eyes full of an anger that barely hid the underlying pain. Drandon stood and held his hands out in a gesture of peace. "I'm not pitying ye Treeana. We each of us have our own road to follow in this life and for some the road is rockier than it is for others. I was only trying to convey to ye my understanding." Treeana looked at the bard standing before her and took in the warmth and the kindness in his eyes and in his sad smile. If anyone were to understand it would be him she thought to herself. This man who had seen the woman he cherished above all things ripped to shreds in front of him. She had been told that he was now only a shell of what he had once been. Giving him a curt nod she again turned away. The bard watched her for a few moments then he stood and quietly slipped up behind her. He laid a hand on her shoulder just as she leaned her head forward against the unyielding bars. He placed another hand on her opposite shoulder then gently he pulled her back toward him, turning her around in the process. He was stunned to see the tears in her eyes. Without a word he encircled her in his arms and held her against his chest. Treeana wrapped her arms around him as she began to sob. Drandon stood in rooted shock. Never, not once over the years had he seen Treeana loose her cold and icy veneer. Now this hardened mercenary lay weeping like a child in his arms. Slowly he lowered them into a sitting position, where he stroked her hair and murmured soothing words in her ear. After many long minutes her sobs having subsided she slowly turned her face up toward his, and looked into his eyes. Drandon smiled warmly at her and the look in her eyes seemed to tell him that something inside of her may have just melted a little. He watched her silently as her brilliant blue eyes swirled with emotions, putting him in mind of a violent summer storm. She closed her eyes and with a loud sniff she sat up and pulled herself out of his embrace. "Let's forget this disgusting emotional display shall we?" Her voice though strong held a quivering note. Drandon chuckled quietly. "I'm simply glad to see ye capable of real emotion milady." He smiled over at her, his words only meant as a jest, but the smile froze on his lips as he saw her expression. Treeana glared hatefully at him her blue eyes blazing. "I see. Because I'm not a smiling, simpering idiot like your Alia, I'm incapable of any real emotion!" Cat-like Treeana jumped to her feet her narrowed eyes shooting daggers into him. Drandon's smile disappeared at the mention of Alia, a young lady whom he considered a dear and wonderful friend, and had on one or two occasions wondered if perhaps there might be more between them. Taking a deep breath and swallowing the anger that was rising inside of him he spoke softly to her. "Treeana why must ye always be so touchy? I was jesting only and meant ye no ill. I however do take offense to the way ye spoke of Alia. She is a kind and warm lady." Treeana rolled her eyes and snorted in disgust. "I hope you know she is husband hunting and is looking for one that would be a fine feather in her cap." Drandon laughed. "So ye think me a fine feather eh?" Treeana glanced over at him and said nothing, but he noticed the slightest of blushes staining her cheeks. He smiled and standing he walked to her and placed a hand under her chin. "I've never seen ye blush. It makes ye look even more beautiful." Treeana arched a brow and watched him skeptically. He didn't know why he did what he did next, only that he was so drawn to her at that moment that he could not resist. Maybe it was the desperation of their situation. Perhaps it was something deeper. Drandon leaned into her and placed his lips against her's, his tongue darting gently but probingly into her warm mouth. He could feel her shock in those first few seconds, but then she seemed to melt against him, her arms wrapping around his body and her tongue intertwining with his in an intense dance of passion. Somehow they had lowered themselves onto the floor though he did not recall doing so. For the first time in over five years Drandon's body blazed with passion and he ached to take this woman that lay in his arms. He had thought that side of himself dead along with Vilanova. They did not speak but no words were necessary that night. Both of them unleashed those things that they had kept so tightly reined inside for so very long. Not only was a child conceived that night, but pieces of themselves were reborn. The next few days before their execution were spent quietly with one another. They did not make love again but they touched each other often and Drandon saw Treeana smile more than he ever had in the years he had known her. When the day of their death dawned Treeana had kissed him and told him that she was glad she had known him. Drandon had simply smiled and said that her acquaintance was one of the most wonderful he had ever had the pleasure of. It was a cloudy day and a great crowd had amassed to witness this much-publicized execution. They would have died if not for the bravery of his brother Ghallad as well as several of their friends. It was only by luck and valiant effort that they all escaped with their lives. It had taken him awhile to recover from the ordeal and by the time he had, Treeana had learned that she was with child. He had seen the pain in Alia's eyes and he had seen the uncertainty in Treeana's expression and he knew that he could not please them both. He had stayed by Treeana's side and given up Alia whom he had begun to love. Treeana had told him that she had fallen in love with him that night in that cold cell and Drandon had not known what to say. It had taken him awhile but he came to see that Treeana understood him. She understood the darkness his wife's death had left upon his soul. Somehow this mercenary had become a soothing balm upon his heart. He loved Treeana. It had taken him some time to realize that but he did. Vilanova would always be inside of him and Treeana knew that. She accepted it and loved him anyway. Drandon sighed and looked up into the starry night sky. It was colder than when he had first stepped out upon the observatory, and he had to wonder how long he had been reminiscing. He yawned and realized that for the first time in several days he was actually sleepy. Wrapping his cloak tighter about himself he made his way back down the stairs and to the bedroom he and Treeana shared. Quietly he opened the door and looked at the woman he loved and the daughter he adored above all else. Laying his cloak aside he crawled gently into the bed keeping Ioni in the middle. He reached across his daughter and brushed a lock of black hair out of Treeana's face. Opening her sleep filled eyes she smiled at him with all of the warmth of her heart, before closing them again. Drandon smiled and turned his heavy eyes toward the window. "Good night Vilanova my darling." He spoke the words only within his mind but he knew she heard him. Closing his eyes he fell into a peaceful sleep. The End Tweet
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