Graven – part 5

The unfriendly vamp that had joined them broke out into laughter. “I like him already.” The man’s words were friendly but his tone had an iron thread indicating danger. Steerl knew this was a man you didn’t turn your back to.

“We’ll meet you later.” The prince said. “Tell the family we’ll see them in two hours. Anyone who disturbs us before then will have to face the consequences.”

The chill in the prince’s voice let everyone know that whatever the reason for interruption it wouldn’t be worth the cost.

Undaunted Steerl let the prince drag him through a thick wooden door and into a darkened chamber. If they were true mates then he was the safest person the kingdom.

It was too dark for Steerl to make out anything other than indistinct shapes in the dim lighting.

When the prince flipped a switch, and flooded the room with lamplight Steerl blinked for several minutes trying to clear his vision.

For the first time he was alone with the vampire prince.

Knots of tension ate at him. What the hell was he going to do with a royal mate? Mother wasn’t going to be happy she was expecting him back in time for dinner.

Father would be thrilled.

“My mother isn’t going to be happy either she expected me to mate with a woman.” The prince grumbled reading Steerl’s mind.

“Then go out there and bloody well get one.” Steerl snapped heading for the door. Or where he hoped it would be in the dark.

“Don’t you walk away from me.” The prince shouted. “You’re my mate and as the laws of our planet demand you will stay and be my husband. There is no divorce, no separation. You will live in my palace and in my bed until the end of our days.”

Fury filled Steerl. “Keep it up and your days are going to end just a little sooner than you thought.”

* * * *

Graven looked at the cloaked figure and burst out laughing. What the hell was he doing? He was starting a fight on his wedding day and he hadn’t even properly met his husband.

Sighing he tried another approach. Unlike other people in his kingdom, his new mate wasn’t intimidated by his anger. Whether because he knew Graven couldn’t harm him without harm to himself or just because the man was stubborn the prince didn’t know.

“Let’s start with something simple. What’s your name?”

“Steerl Raisal.”

Fuck. “Like the emperor’s youngest son Steerl Raisal?”

“Yes.”

The plus side was his mother would be a lot happier that he married royalty. The negative was rumor had it that the only person the emperor loved more than himself was his youngest son. The fallout from this union could be immense.

Swallowing hard the prince said the four fateful words that would change his life forever. “Take off your robes.”

“Is there some procedure I should follow?” Steerl’s voice was amused adding to the irritation Graven felt at never having seen his mate and already fighting.

“The quicker, the better.” He tried for a reassuring smile but passion made his fangs drop down so it was probably more frightening than calming.

He heard Steerl take a deep breath before pulling off the robe and scarf in one sweeping movement.

Graven’s heart stopped in his chest as a sleek slightly muscled form was exposed. Gleaming gold hair fell in silky layers as his mate dipped his head hiding his face.

“No look up at me I want to see your eyes.”

Bracing himself Graven looked into the face of the man fated to be his mate and forgot how to breathe. Gold eyes with flecks of blue looked out of a perfectly symmetrical face. High cheekbones sculpted into perfection framed an aristocratic nose. Lush lips briefly drew his attention from the goddess kiss on the man’s firm chin. If an artist wanted to draw a picture of perfection, he could use this man as the model.

The beauty’s body was covered in a sleek black shirt that slid across a set of obvious pebbled abs and the thin silk pants that clung in all the best places.

“Strip.” The prince demanded in a hoarse voice he barely recognized as his own.

Steerl took off his shirt revealing a chest even more beautiful than the shirt implied.

“By the gods and goddesses you’re a beautiful man.” The words were soft and worshipful as if ripped from Graven’s soul.

“Take off the pants.”

Graven was surprised when his mate crossed his arms across his chest, gold eyes flashing defiantly.

“What are you taking off?”

“Me?’

How had he lost control of this situation?

“Yes you. If we’re going to be mates I want to see what I’m getting.”

A growl rolled out from deep in the prince’s chest. “We are going to be mates.” The thought of this golden beauty touched by someone else made his stomach churn. He felt physically sick.

 

Update!

Hello all,

I thought I’d post what is going on. Since November ended and the story didn’t get finished I will continue by posting the November story twice a week (Tuesday & Thursday) while finishing off Graven on Monday and Wednesday. I’m not sure what I’m going to do on Fridays but we’ll see! Thanks for everyone who participated in the birthday bash.

 

Lord of Small Magics – 29

Meck placed a spell to lesson Anders weight and bind his broken leg against jarring. He might not be able to heal Anders but he could prevent his injuries from becoming worse, or at least he hoped he could.

Anders examined his newly bandaged leg. “That’s a helpful skill.”

“I’m sure the healers can do much better.” Meck tried not to blush under Anders’ admiring gaze but he couldn’t stop a smile from spreading across his lips. He liked that the general never failed to compliment him.

“As much as I appreciate all this care I think it might go better if I transformed.”

“Can you really turn into a wolf?”

“Yes.” Anders nodded.

“Have you ever done it while injured?”

Anders paused as if considering the situation. “No.”

Meck considered the ramifications. “Do you think it will hurt you more if you shift while injured?”

Anders spent a few minutes looking over the battlefield. “In my wolf shape I can at least have three lets instead of four making it easier to get across.”

Meck was a bit disappointed he couldn’t argue with that logic. Worry had him frowning as he took in the scene of blood splattered bodies and battle cries. “Okay. I’ll be right behind you.”

“Or you could stay over here where it’s safe,” Anders argued.

“No where is safe, we’re in a battle,” Meck pointed out. He wasn’t trying to be difficult by pointing out their situation but there wasn’t any reason for Anders to rush off on his own when other people could be helping him.

Anders scowled. “Fine. Have it your way.”

“If I had it my way we’d be back in the tent having sex,” Meck said in a low voice.

The prince’s abrupt coughing spell told him he hadn’t spoken quietly enough. He frowned at the royal but only received an amused look in response.

“Stop trying to stare down the prince,” Anders scolded, nudging Meck.

“You have to get the general patched up before you worry about anything more strenuous.” The prince’s serious expression was only marred by his sparkling eyes.

“Fine. If you think it won’t kill you,” Meck gave in gracelessly trying not to show how much this idea worried him.

“Only one way to find out.” A feral light gleamed in Anders’ eyes.

Meck only had a few seconds to catch his meaning before a bright glow encompassed the general and he shrank from human sized to large wolf sized. Meck got an impression a gorgeous grey and white wolf before he was running away from him and across the battlefield.

“Look at him go,” the prince muttered.

“He is fast,” Meck agreed as the wolf tore across the field, dodging swords, kicks and the occasional bolt of magic shot toward him. He hoped he could follow as easily without getting injured. Casting a few more protection spells on himself he jogged toward the healers hoping no one tried to stop him. Halfway across something slammed into Meck sending him flying into someone else’s shield.

Meck grunted with the impact.

His ears rang. Shaking his head he tried to clear out the sounds ricocheting around in his skull. A strong grip pulled him to his feet. The prince’s white-toothed grin eased his concern.

“Go!” the prince shouted.

Stumbling more than running, Meck made it over to the healers. Luckily the tents weren’t so large that it took long to find Anders. He lay in the middle of the tent with four fawning healers.

“Glad to see you are feeling better,” Meck said. He looked away from the enticing bare chest. Now wasn’t the time to indulge in his fantasies.

“I made it!” Anders loopy smile made it all worthwhile.

“Yes you did. “

“Stay still,” one of the healer’s said. “We’ll never get you healed with you squirming around.”

Anders froze, a wry smile on his lips. “Sorry.”

Meck doubted Anders truly felt remorse if the teasing looks he gave Meck through his lashes were put into the equation. Whoever had reported Anders as an angry, volatile soldier hadn’t really known him very well.

Lord of Small Magics – 28

Meck searched his memory for the limited healing spells he knew. He couldn’t even ask Vedder for help because his powerful friend had almost flunked out of the medical section. Healing wasn’t about powering through and that was Vedder’s best ability. He didn’t do as well with more subtle magic.

“Get to work! What kind of wizard are you?” The soldier jeered.

“The non-healing king.” Meck resisted the urge to show off his fire starting spells. An explosion nearby sprayed them with bits of rock and dirt. Meck cast a quick shield over them until the rubble stopped raining from the sky.

The open wounds were the easy part it was the stuff hidden below he didn’t know how to fix. A quick mending spell closed the gash across Anders’ chest but the same wouldn’t fix anything broken. “Where is your medical team?”

“On the other side of the battle,” one of the soldiers volunteered.

Great. Of course they were. Why would they have anyone nearby to help with wounded when they could be standing on the sidelines doing nothing? Meck pushed a stabilizing spell across Anders hoping to stop anything from shifting where it shouldn’t. Unfortunately the influx of magic woke Anders up. Meck pushed down on his shoulder when he tried to move.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“In case you missed it there’s a battle going on,” Anders waved a hand toward the two men battling it out with swords and shields.

“I noticed,” Meck said. “But you are in no condition to do anything. You have some broken bones. I’m trying to figure out how to get you to the other side of the battle to heal you. I’m afraid I don’t have any teleporting spells.” Magic to transfer people from one place to another was a myth. Meck was sure someone could do it but that someone wasn’t him.

“I can make it,” Anders said completely disregarding his injury.

“I don’t think you can.” Now wasn’t the time to tiptoe around the idiot trying to pretend he was well.

“We don’t have a choice.”

“We have several. I can run across and fetch someone, we can wait and see if the battle ends soon, I can perform more of my limited healing magic and hope for the best.” Meck paused as he thought over different scenarios. “That’s all I can think of right now.”

“You can help me over to the healer tents and stop complaining,” Anders offered.

Meck scowled at the general. “You could also be stabbed to death by the enemy while we are walking across the battlefield.”

“Or by my wizard,” Anders smirked at Meck’s expression. “You are looking rather homicidal, my sweet.”

“I’ll give you sweet,” Meck growled. “Don’t look at me like that. I thought you were dead.”

“How is he?” A tall man with sharp features and an air of authority kneeled down beside them.

“I think he has a few broken bones,” Harry said automatically. “I think it is minor but I don’t know. I can’t get him to stay still enough to check.” He pouted.

“I’m Prince Farlon. Anders is one of my best generals. How much do you want to bet that he’s also the worst patient?

Meck exchanged knowing smiles with the prince before it occurred to him how familiar he was being with someone of royal blood. “I’m sure he is, your majesty.”

“Now no reason to be so formal. We are battlefield friends after all. If you want to take Anders over to the healers I can protect you from attacks.”

Meck considered that while looking at the battle that raged on around them. “Very well.” He wouldn’t be willing to take anyone’s else’s offer but surely the prince had extra training or two in order to keep him and his entourage safe.

 

 

Lord of Small Magics – 27

Panic had Meck scanning the battlefield searching for any sign of the general. “Where?”

Vedder flung another lightning bolt before answering. “Did you forget all of your training?”

“Crap, you’re right.” Meck closed his eyes. He’d never been able to do this with his eyes open, too much outside distraction for him to focus. Inhaling a deep breath he sent out seeking magic to find more of his own. With the amount of power he had poured into Anders’ armor it should glow like a fire beacon.

One sweep. Nothing.

“Focus harder,” Vedder urged.

He could do this. He’d done it before. Part of his training had been magical search and rescue in case he was sent to take care of children or older people with memory issues. As a minder he had to be able locate his charges if they wandered away. Another deep breath in and out to calm his nerves and soothe his magic, then Meck pulsed out his energy. A soft bell went off in his brain. There. He slowly shuffled to align his body to the first response before sending out another pulse of magic. Meck snapped his eyes open to watch where this portion went. If he was doing it right it should highlight where Anders fell.

“Did you find him?” Vedder asked when Meck didn’t rush away. Only Meck could see the signs because it was tuned to the magic user.

“Yes.” Meck bit his lip as he examined the battle down below. “I don’t know if I can get to him safely. If I get injured rushing to his side he won’t be happy.” That was probably putting it mildly. Anders so far had turned out to be quite protective of Meck. If they would continue to be a good thing in the future he didn’t know yet.

“I’ll clear your path if you run now.”

Before Meck had a chance to do anything at all Vedder sent balls of lightning rolling down the middle of the fight. Curses reached them up on the hill. “I don’t think they liked that. See you later.” Meck ran after the balls of lightning not willing to lose his advantage. He ducked when a broadsword swung in his direction barely avoiding decapitation. He waved a hand and made the soldier’s metal boots smooth on the bottom with a polishing spell. The enemy soldier went down with the next step he took in a large clang of hard muscles and noisy metal.

“Oops,” Meck muttered, laughter bubbling through him. He didn’t have time to be amused at the soldier’s plight, not when he still had many yards before he safely made it to the other side of the battlefield. Balls of lighting fell from the sky and surrounded him. The gods had been smiling on him when he became Vedder’s friend. No one had ever been such a strong supporter of him before. Vedder was like an adopted brother he would know to his grave. An arrow whispered past his ear. If he didn’t get to safety soon he wouldn’t have to worry about the rest of his day.

The lightning crackling around him on all sides helped him get halfway there when all the lights went out. Meck spun around barely avoiding a dagger thrown at him. “Shit.” Giving up the completely protected approach Meck began to run. He needed to check on his general, Vedder could take care of himself and he wasn’t alone up there.

Another pulse of magic and four almost decapitations later and dodging a swinging shield Meck made it to Anders side. The general lay on the ground where someone at least had pulled him beneath an overhang. Two soldiers stood over him blocking any ongoing attacks.

“Can you do anything for him?” One of the soldiers asked.

“I don’t know yet.” Meck didn’t add the word idiot to his phrase but he hoped it was implied. Pressing his hands against Anders chest he did the few diagnostic spells. He grimaced when he got back the results. Not good but could be worse. Anders had a cracked rip that was pressing on his lungs and his right leg was shattered

Lord of Small Magics – 26

As Meck suspected he found Vedder on the hill flinging lightning bolts while his companions could barely muster a dark puff of a cloud. Pride for his friend burst through him. Vedder had worked hard to temper his power fluctuations in school and the controlled magic proved how far he had come.

“What are you doing out here? It’s not safe,” Vedder shouted over the noise of the storm.

“Checking on you! Besides I’m not safer in camp no one is there.” As far as he could tell no soldiers remained behind to guard the camp. An oversight he couldn’t understand.

“No one’s guarding?” Vedder frowned then blasted a knight off his horse. The steed reared up and kicked another soldier in the head.

“Brutal,” Meck said, laughing.

“Effective,” Vedder replied, a pleased smile on his face.

Meck reinforced the magical protections over Vedder to block accidental damage. The wizards on either side of him didn’t appear to be as careful with their spells. They had both less power and worse control.

“Thanks,” Vedder said.

Meck nodded. Of course his friend would’ve felt his protective spells. It was foolish of him to think his approach was subtle.

“Have you seen your general?” Vedder asked, his sharp eyes scanning the battle below.

“No.” Meck tried to peer around Vedder but couldn’t see much from their protected viewpoint without going on the other side of his friend. He doubted Vedder would let him pass.

“He’s probably fine. You charmed his armor, right?”

“Yeah.” He had even added a few more protections before wrapping the armor around Anders while he ran to battle.

“Then he’ll be fine.” Vedder’s confidence in Meck’s power had him smiling despite the battle down below.

“I hope so.” Meck hadn’t practiced most of those spells often. He hadn’t planned on being in the heat of war. The retired soldiers’ home was sounding better and better. He ignored the voice in his head whispering how he’d miss his general.

He kept silent for several minutes, letting Vedder and his fellow wizards battle. A gasp then gurgle warned Meck of his danger as the wizard beside Vedder fell with an arrow through his throat.

Meck quickly cast more protections over Vedder and himself. The slight drain on his magic would be worth it if they survived this battle. A frantic scan of the area uncovered the archer squeezed between two rocks. “He’s hiding to the north between the big boulders,” he whispered to Meck not wanting the archer to know he’d been spotted.

“Thanks,” Vedder replied. He pointed his right hand, palm out toward the archer. A jet of white light pulsed from him and caused the boulders to explode. Stone tumbled down and crushed the archer.

One more enemy down.

Maybe he should’ve felt bad at a death but his worry for Anders overshadowed all. What if something happened to his soldier? He bit his lip as he slid into the spot vacated by the dead wizard.

“You’d best have put up protections,” Vedder warned.

“I did.” He wasn’t five he knew how to cast personal charms.

“Don’t fall. I won’t rescue you.” Vedder snarled before coaxing a black cloud to sink down and block the vision of the soldiers in the back.

“Liar.” If there was one thing Meck knew it was Vedder would come after him if he ever needed help.

“Maybe.” Vedder flung another bolt of lightning. After another electric crack of magic he lowered his arms. His shoulders sank and he wobbled a bit on his feet.

“Are you all right?” Meck had never seen Vedder lose energy before.

“I’m a bit tired. I’ve never had to channel so much energy before.”

Without even thinking Meck wrapped his fingers around Vedder’s wrist then pushed some of his magical power into his friend. Vedder’s back straightened and he turned his head to give his attention to Meck. A wide smile crossed his lips and his eyes regained their sparkle. “You’re the best.”

Meck smiled back. “I’m just trying to help.”

Vedder turned back to the battle and lost his smile at the sound of an explosion. “I think your general just fell.”

Lord of Small Magics – 25

Yes I am one episode behind. I hope to catch up soon🙂

 

The ground rumbled beneath his feet. Meck stared at the tent flap half-hoping someone would rush through and let him know the status. Right now he knew nothing except the clang of metal weapons smacking together and the intermittent boom of magic. Lightning sizzled and thunder crashed outside in an audio explosion. Meck cast a quick spell to diffuse the louder noises. Someone speaking would still be heard but anything unnaturally loud would be softened. The spell had been created to calm horses during warfare. Meck didn’t know if the magic users in camp knew that particular spell but he didn’t plan on rushing out to check. He would ask them after everything was over.

“Gods please keep Anders and Vedder safe.” He might wish the soldiers he’d met to have a safe battle but their well being didn’t matter as much to him.

After pacing the tent for what seemed like an hour, Meck sat on his bed. No one had come for him which either meant they were still in battle or anyone who would say anything had been killed. Meck tried to keep his optimism up but a hard stone of worry settled in his chest.

A loud bang followed by a brilliant flash of white light was the final push to get Meck to peer outside. First glance showed nothing but the deserted area outside his tent. Not a big surprise since all the soldiers were at the battle and the support staff were closer to the center of the tent, but still the lack of occupants didn’t reassure his frazzled nerves. How long would the battle take? None of the mock wars done at school lasted very long. The teachers went for battle power rather than stamina. Thunder rumbled across camp bringing with it the smell of rain. Black clouds, fat with moisture slid across the sky like a wizard’s cape covering every patch of blue.

Vedder.

If he went to high ground Meck would be able to find his friend and stay free of battle. Pleased with his reasoning, he glanced around until he could determine which way the land sloped. The next snap of lightning pinpointed his goal.

There, to the south a jut of land shot into the sky. Meck spotted a handful of people standing on the hilltop waving their hands to the sky. Only one of them had the graceful motions he connected to Vedder. The others must not have proper training. In battles proper training often was the first thing discarded. If someone showed up with power or a particular skill set they were quickly adopted. The same half-training wizards often died in battle trying to use magic they weren’t equipped for.

The soft whistle in the air had Meck ducking. A sharp slide across his forearm left a streak of blood behind alerting him that he hadn’t entirely evaded the attack as the arrow embedded in the tree behind him.

“Damn,” he muttered. “I hope that wasn’t one of those poisoned ones.”

When he didn’t immediately topple over he continued on his way more cautious of his surroundings than before. No sense checking to see if the people he cared about were safe if he got killed checking on them.

He couldn’t spot the archer so he cast some protection spells on his clothing. His simple cloth shirt and pants glowed briefly. Satisfied he’d be safer than before, Meck ran as fast as he could to the higher ground. Because of his short stature Meck scrambled easily through the small spaces between tents and made it up the hill without further incident. He ignored the slight scrape of a blade that slipped off his back from the power of his spells.