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Part 26

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“Perhaps I should go and be certain that Bella is well,” Allarick was already rising from the table as he spoke to his sister. Philomina had managed to contain him for the majority of the meal, but he had decided that he could wait no longer.

“If you must go chasing after you mate then you have my blessing. She has had more time alone than what I would have guessed you could be persuaded to give her,” Philomina was laughing and shooing him from the room as she added, “I’ll see to things here and be sure the rest of the evening goes orderly.”

With a quick flash of his old grin, so common cycles before, Allarick stalked off towards the gardens thinking that it was the most likely place for Bella to go. When he didn’t find her near the waterfall or anywhere in the maze of flowers he decided to ask if Nechemya had seen her.

“I’ve not seen our lady Allarick. If she left the meal, it is not anywhere within the palace that she retreated to,” was his reply when he cornered him outside the chamber he and Arabella were sharing.

With the slightest tingle of worry, Allarick decided to head outside towards the stables to see if Tamarin had seen his mate. While he was searching for his stable master among the stalls, he came upon Arabella hugging one of the small lorellia. He smiled as the thought occurred that he should have known she would like the fantastical animals. His mate’s barely audible sob drew his attention.

“Tamore what is it that is wrong? I did not upset you at the evening meal I hope,” he reached out to draw her towards him, but his movement stopped abruptly as she gave a sharp gasp at his touch, “What has happened Bella? You are injured. Let us get you inside so I can see how badly. Did you have a fall from your mount?”

When he did not receive an answer, only Arabella’s continued tears, he began to lead his injured mate towards the palace and their chambers. Along the way they passed Nechemya who followed them to their chamber.

“Please bring me supplies to attend to Bella’s injuries.”

“Shall I send Mina to help attend her?” he asked with concern.

“Please just bring the supplies. I’ve no desire to worry Mina.”

Allarick still had no idea the extent of her injuries, so he started to remove her clothing. He winced as he saw the masses of bruising that covered her body. It was deepest circling her ribs, and he feared that she may have a few which were broken. It took a few moments for him to take note of the defensive wounds on his mate’s arms and legs. Her belly was free of any damage, but her forearms were covered in abrasions and more angry bruises. As he took note of her condition he concluded that his tamore had not fallen from the lorelilla like he had firs believed. Someone had deliberately attacked his mate.
* * * * * * * * * * * *

Allarick’s hands were gentle where they touched her, but even that caused Arabella to wince in agony. It felt as if someone had taken a baseball bat to her body. She was certain that a number of her ribs were broken, and she would feel lucky to find that she had no fractures in her arms. She may have fought Phelon off, but he had inflicted more than his share of damage on her.

“Come, into the bath tamore. The warm, mineral filled, water will help to ease some of the aches from your injuries.”

Arabella had become very cognizant of Allarick’s change in behavior. He was studiously trying to no longer ask her what had occurred, but the tautness of his face told how upset he was by her condition. She had little doubt that he realized it was not a tumble from the lorelilla which had caused her condition.

She lowered into the pool with the help of her mate but was unable to prevent the tiny whimper that escaped from simply having to move. Allarick’s hand convulsed where he was holding her own. To try and ease his worry she pressed a caressing kiss to the back of his fingers. She was not able to bring herself to tell Allarick of what had occurred, and she hoped that in some small way she could assure him of her well being. She knew that her injuries looked bad, but the situation could have been much worse if she had been unarmed. Silently she promised that if she ever saw Vern again she was going to give him a huge kiss for teaching her to fight.

A curt tapping on the door called Allarick away. Arabella was able to see Nechemya’s solemn face before Allarick closed their chamber door to talk with him in the hall. It was only a matter of moments before the door reopened, and the rage on her mate’s face had her rising quickly from the pool.

“Phelon has returned to the palace with some grievous wounds. It seems tat you are quite dangerous Bella since he has named you as his attacker. Is that what has occurred tamore? Did Phelon attack you? I need an answer Bella”

Arabella was not certain that she wanted to relay the events of the evening to Allarick while he looked so angry, but it seemed that there was to be very little choice in the matter. With a stuttering start, she began to tell him of all that had occurred. She gave an account of all that happened from the time she left the meal until she reappeared within the stable nearly two hours later. She left no detail out, and she was relieved to see that there was no doubt in his face regarding her tale.

“I will see that he is punished for what he has done this evening,” with his proclamation, Allarick destroyed any sense of relief she was feeling, “he will face me in challenge tomorrow.”

“Allarick, you can not challenge Phelon. If you do this, then you have given him exactly what it is that he wants. He is using me to get to you, and I can not bear it if you allow him to win,” the tears that Arabella had been holding at bay started to fall in earnest. She had been trying to protect Allarick by keeping her silence, but Nechemya’s news had made it impossible to continue to do so. Now the sobs were ripped from her, and the force of them reawakened the agony of her injuries.

She might have not been looking for love, but it had found her anyway. She had spent her life avoiding being too close to anyone aside from Vern. Life had been much simpler that way. Now she was choking with the realization that if anything were to happen to Allarick she would never find happiness again. There was a sickening feeling in the depth of her being that told her she may just follow her mate into death.

“Bella, shhh,” Allarick folded her within his arms and hugged her to his chest, “I do not mean to upset you tamore, but I cannot allow this to go unchallenged. He has attacked you, and now he is trying to hide it by accusing you of attacking him. If I allow this to happen, then he will win anyway. He will destroy you, and then there will be nothing of me left. You have become my heart, my very reason for life, and I will never allow anyone to harm you”

Arabella continued to sob while Allarick stroked her back. He made soothing circles between her spine and shoulders trying to calm her, but all the motion succeeded in doing was making her cry harder. He pressed a cup to her lips insisting she drink the bitter brew. When she would have pulled away, he urged her to drink more of the concoction. Arabella did not know what it was that he was forcing on her, but she felt the pain of her injuries begin to dull. A languid weariness overcame her, and her eyelids began to droop.

“All will be well. I will take care of everything, but for now I need you to rest tamore. I need you to sleep and heal.”

“I love you tamir. Don’t leave me,” her whispered words were barely audible as sleep overcame her. The last thing that Arabella remembered was Allarick carrying her to bed, pressing a kiss to her lips, and telling her that he loved her as well and not to worry.

Updated 05-02-2009 at 08:47 AM by applepie