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Part 27

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Here is another bit to my story. It is going slow, but it is going. Enjoy!

“Can I get you anything Lady Arabella?” Nechemya called to Arabella as she began to move about in the other room, “I believe I can find you a nice tray of food and something to drink.”

“That would be much appreciated. What happened to calling me Bella? I thought you agreed to not call me Lady except for when you must.

“I am sorry Bella, habits are much harder to break than I would like,” Nechemya was already moving towards the door, and he hurried to be out it as he heard Arabella’s next question.

“Where is Allarick this morning?”

He shut the door quickly before there was an opportunity to answer his lady. He didn’t want to be the one to tell her of all that was occurring. He had been watching over Arabella because Allarick was not available. He was not even within the walls. What his lady did not know was that she finally woke up as her mate was fighting the challenge issued against Phelon. Nechemya was certain that he did not want to be the one who broke that news to Bella. Keeping that in mind, he asked a passing servant to take a plate of food to his lady, and he went in search of his other mistress.

It was no surprise to Nechemya that he found Philomina within the highest chamber of the palace. Once the room had belonged to her mother as a music room, but Mina had turned the beautifully lit room into that lovely place to sit and read or paint. She did not possess her mother’s talent for music, but was an exceptional artist.

Today she was sitting at the window watching the crowd below. She must have heard his entry, because she began to speak to him as he approached.

“You would think that all these people were gathered to watch the latest theatrical act instead of gathering to see if their Syine, their ruler, is going to be killed this day. Look at them, huddled about like ravening beasts screaming for blood. They’ve no care that the blood is going to be shed by a good man. It is a loving ruler who has sacrificed all to do well for them that is bleeding for them this day, and they yell as if it is entertainment. They will watch my brother die if he can not best Phelon, and they will cheer as it happens. The very people that he has devoted his life to helping will do nothing but cheer as he fights for his very life.”

Nechemya moved forward and wrapped Philomina in his arms, “All is not as bad as that Mina. They will cheer louder if Allarick wins the day and it is Phelon who is defeated,” at the small hiccup of laughter that was both a sob and chuckle, he pulled Mina tighter against him and pressed his lips to her neck. A sigh escaped them both as they settled into a position that was so familiar to them.

“How is it that you manage to do that? No matter how unhappy I am, not matter how angry at the world I am, you can touch me and all of it goes away. Will you always be able to make me feel like this?”

“I will hold you like this for as long as you will let me Mina. Don’t you know by now that you are my world? How many years has it been tamore that we have hidden our marks? I think if Allarick has his way, it will not be long before we can show the beauty of them with no fear of punishment. I only hope that he will make it through this day.”

“He will make it; I have no doubt that Allarick will come home to us. I only hope that Arabella will be awake when he does. He is more concerned about his mate than himself, and Phelon will pay the price for what he did to Bella. I know Allarick fears that Phelon did more to his tamore than just cause physical damage. I think he worries that she will reject him now that she has been shown such an ugly side of our world.”

“Speaking of lady Arabella, she is awake in their chamber. Your brother will be pleased when he returns to find her looking so well, but at the moment I’m more concerned of Arabella’s reaction when she is told that Allarick is fighting a challenge right now.”

A ghost of a smile lit Philomina’s face, and she settled herself more fully into Nechemya’s arms.

“I do not look forward to the task either, but since you are here I guess it falls to me to be the one to break the news. I am afraid that my brother’s new mate is not going to take it well. I’m only sorry that she did not awaken sooner. If she had been able to talk with Allarick she may have been able to talk him out of this madness.”

“I am afraid it does love. It will be better for her to hear of your brother’s challenge from someone whom she loves and trusts. As for your brother, do not hold his refusal to listen against him. I would do the same if anyone had abused you like what has been done to Arabella.”

“I’ll not hold it against him, but I fear that Bella may not be so kind. I suppose that I should go to tell her now. The challenge should be nearly finished, and I have no desire for her to hear the news from someone else.”
* * * * * * * * * * * *

Arabella was sitting at a small table in the chamber she was now sharing with Allarick when Philomina entered the room. She had just completed her meal, and she was marveling at how much she had healed in only a matter of hours. She did not know that it had really been several days since she had taken the medicinal brew Allarick insisted that she drink. It had amazing healing properties, but one of the side effects was that it tended to place the person who consumed it into a coma like state while it worked its healing.

“Bella, I hope that you are feeling well today,” Philomina’s voice came to her from the open doorway between the inner chamber and the seating room that connected to the main hallway, “You gave Allarick quite a scare.”

“I feel amazing!” Arabella responded. Her smile told the tale of just how great she felt. “I don’t know what was in that drink that Allarick gave to me, but between that and a good night’s rest, I feel as if I’m nearly healed. Have you seen him this morning so that I can thank him?”

“Arabella, do you not know how long you have been resting? The medicine that you were given has left you unconscious for three nights. It has amazing healing properties, but it also forces your to rest.”

“Three nights,” Arabella exclaimed, “but that would mean that Allarick has already issued his challenge to Phelon. I do not imagine that he would have waited for me to be awake to do so.”

“My brother is fighting his challenge battle with Phelon right now,” Philomina looked sympathetic at the panic that flared in Arabella’s eyes, but she continued, “I am certain that it is nearly over by now, and we will find out who it is that has won the battle.”

“He is fighting for his life, and I have been sitting here eating my meal and marveling over how well I am feeling.”

“Bella, listen to me. There is nothing that you could have done. Being present at the battle is likely to distract my brother more than anything else. I have never seen him as crazed with anger as he was on the night you came home beaten. I know that you have no memory of what occurred after you fell asleep, but Allarick was very unlike himself with the temper he was in. Nothing would have dissuaded him from making Phelon pay for what he has done.”

Arabella was just about to speak when the door came crashing open to reveal her bloody and battered mate. She gasped as the door slammed shut behind him and he limped further into the room. She rose quickly and rushed to take survey of his injuries. There was an oozing gash along his left arm and another bisecting his right thigh. His face was a mass of bruises, and she worried that he may have further damage that was not as apparent.

“It is finished Bella,” he whispered a he drew her close. She returned his embrace but dew back when he was unable to contain a gasp at her touch.

“Finished?” she queried back, “Tell me you did not kill him Allarick. I know you had reason to be angry, but please do not tell me that you have killed Phelon over me.”

“Calm yourself tamore he is not dead. Our challenge was not to the death, though I would have preferred such a challenge. He deserved death for what it is that he did to you.”

“Allarick, we must tend to your wounds,” Philomina crossed to her brother, “Drink this,” she demanded offering a cup.

“I have no wish to be senseless Mina.”

“Do as you sister asks tamir. You need to heal, and she surely knows what is best. Please drink,” Arabella took the cup from Philomina and held it to her mate’s lips. Allarick shook his head in refusal again, but she was not to be dissuaded, “Please love. I trusted you to care for me, now please allow me to take care of you.

With a sigh of resignation, Allarick began to drink the medicine offered. When the cup was empty he closed his eyes and swayed with the power of the drug dragging him under.

“Come to bed,” Arabella gently drew him towards their bed.

“I do this for you tamore, but we will talk when I awaken,” Allarick’s eyes were already beginning to drift shut as he lay upon the covers. Arabella began to draw away, but he claimed her hand, “stay with me.”

“I’ll stay as long as you will allow as you will allow,” came her gentle reply, but Allarick was already asleep.

“He will rest for at least a day,” Philomina placed a hand on her shoulder, “the medicine is the same that was given to you. It will speed his healing and allow his body the rest he needs. When he awakens most of the healing will be completed. Would you like to come below with me?”

“No Mina, I think I will stay here for a time,” Arabella brushed a lock of hair from Allarick’s face, “I would like to be here just in case he needs me.”

“My brother is lucky to have you Bella. Just send Nechemya for me if you need anything.”