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Re: Love & War on Antar (AU,M/L,ADULT) A/N: 7/16/18

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:53 am
by keepsmiling7
I'll be glad when your motherly duties are completed.......but do understand.

Re: Love & War on Antar (AU,M/L,ADULT) A/N: 7/16/18

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:56 am
by Cocogurl
keepsmiling7 - Thanks so much for your comments and your patience. I really appreciate it. And I hope you enjoy this new part.

Chapter Twenty-One

The next night, Inara entered her and Zan’s cottage, taking off her cloak and setting it down on the arm of loveseat. With a snap of her fingers, candles ignited, bathing the living room with a flickering orange glow. She grabbed some wood and set it neatly in the fireplace before snapping her fingers again, using her powers to set the logs on fire. Once that was done, Inara sat on the couch and anxiously waited for Kivar to show up. She’d messaged him earlier and asked him to meet her there. As she looked around, memories of her time her with Zan came flashing through her mind and she couldn’t help but feel like she was betraying Zan by bringing Kivar here. This was their place. Their own private sanctuary where they could be themselves without fear of judgment or expectation. Kivar had no place here, but what choice did she have? This was the place that was private enough for them to speak without fear of listening ears. After a few moments, Inara stood up and began pacing, feeling more nervous by the second. Finally, she heard three soft knocks on the cabin door and rushed over to open it.

Kivar stepped inside and greeted Inara with a warm smile, letting his eyes scan over her beauty. “Inara, it’s good to see you.”

Inara was about to respond when she noticed Kivar’s General, Nikolai, coming in close behind him and shutting the door. She frowned in confusion. “Why is General Nikolai here?”

“It’s all right,” Kivar assured her as she watched Nikolai warily. “He’s here to help us.”

“It’s true,” Nikolai said. “I was working with King Galen, but now that I realize how dangerous he is, I want to help stop him.” Looking at Inara, he could tell she wasn’t quite convinced and his respect for her grew a little at this. Maybe she’s not as naïve as she appears, he thought appreciatively. Neither nor Kivar were in this for altruistic reasons, but right now, he needed her to believe him. He took a step forward, giving her a grave look and putting as much sincerity in his voice as he could muster. “The fate of our planets depends on it.”

Inara remained silent as she studied him, trying to decide if he was someone she could trust. She then turned her gaze to Kivar, needing reassurance. He gave her another soft smile as he grasped her left elbow and gentled guided her over to the couch. “I promise he’s telling the truth.”

As they sat down on the dusty old couch, Kivar gestured to Nikolai, who brought over the silver briefcase he was holding and set it down on the table. Kivar unlatched it and opened the top, revealing a brown leather-bound book. Inara studied the book in amazement as Kivar wrapped his fingers around the sides and lifted the book up, pointing in her direction. “Are you ready?”

Her stomach rumbled in nervous anticipation, but she did her best to appear confident as she nodded her head. Slowly, she reached forward and took the book from Kivar, placing it in her lap as she closed her eyes and concentrated. When nothing happened, she got confused and gripped the book tighter in her hands, concentrating harder. But still, nothing happened. She opened her eyes and her brows furrowed. “I don’t see anything.”

Kivar appeared disappointed, but he wasn’t ready to give up. “Are you sure? Try again.”

With a nod, Inara closed her eyes again, desperately trying to trigger a vision. But once again, her efforts were unsuccessful, and she placed the book back in the briefcase in disappointment. “It’s not working.”

“Perhaps you’re lying about having these visions,” Nikolai said, eyeing Inara skeptically.

With that, Inara stood from her seat and glared at the General. “I’m not lying!”

Before Nikolai could reply, Kivar stood and held up his hand towards the man, silencing him. “Leave us for a moment.” Kivar’s tone left no room for argument and without another word, Nikolai opened the cabin door and stepped outside, leaving the two alone.

“I’m not lying. I promise.”

Kivar nodded in understanding. “I believe you.” With a sigh, he sat back down on the couch. “Perhaps something is blocking you. Previously, did you do anything to trigger these visions.”

She shook her head as she returned to her seat. “No. I spend all of my time trying NOT to have them.”

“Maybe that’s it,” he suggested. “Maybe some part of you is still trying to stop yourself. This time just let the visions come. Don’t fight them.”

Inara picked the book up again, staring at it intently. Deep down, she had a feeling that Kivar was right. She’d been fighting these powers for so long, it was just instinctual at this point. This time, when she closed her eyes, she let her mind blank out and her defenses drop. After a minute or two, when nothing happened, Inara started to feel hopeless. But before she could say anything, a rush of energy went through her body, taking her by surprise.

“Inara” Kivar said, concern in his voice as he watched Inara slump back against the couch, her closed eyelids fluttering rapidly. “Inara,” he said again but it was pointless.

Inara could barely hear Kivar as the energy started pulling her consciousness somewhere else. Every impulse inside of her wanted to fight, to turn away from the terrible things she knew she was about to see. But she resisted it, allowing the power to take her where it wanted to. Slowly, she felt herself drifting away. Away from Kivar. Away from the cottage…

Soon Inara found herself standing alone at the edge of an expansive lake, feeling the cold water as it gently lapped at her feet. She was perplexed as she took in her surroundings. This place was so different than anything she’d ever seen before and she was certain that she wasn’t on Antar. The calm water in front of her was blue rather than the violet color of Antarian water and as it continued to wash over Inara’s toes, she noticed that it didn’t feel as thick as the waters of Antar did. The trees surrounding her weren’t as tall as the ones on her home world, but she was amazed by how green they were. This place was so beautiful, but so foreign to her. She’d never seen anything like it before and wondered if it was on any of the five planets. She studied the area a moment longer before her eyes landed on a little cabin on the other side of the lake. Smoke billowed from a little chimney connected to it, indicating that someone was there. Inara made her way towards the cabin, hearing the pebbles and leaves crunch under her bare feet with every step.

As she approached the steps leading up the cabin, she paused, wondering, worrying what she’d find on the other side of that door. But her need to know outweighed her fear, so she straightened her shoulders, took a breath and started climbing the stairs. She was about to know when the door slowly swung open on its own and she passed the threshold.

A fire crackled in the fireplace that was sitting against the wall on the right side of the room, filling the whole house with warmth. Inara took everything in. There were two chairs facing the hearth with tables on either side of them. Weird objects, which Inara suspected were decorations, were all over the house. On the mantle of the fireplace, on the tables. Pictures hung on the wall and she walked closer to inspect them. There were several images of a man and woman smiling and looking lovingly at each other, and Inara assumed they were married. Images of them with others laughing, dancing and having a good time. For some reason, Inara’s eyes kept going back to the woman. She was beautiful. In her early fifties at least with long dark brown hair. She’d never seen this woman before in her life, but for some reason, she seemed familiar to Inara somehow. Finally, she noticed the light emanating from an open doorway on the left corner of the room and walked towards it.

Once inside, Inara spotted the giant bed in the center of the room and gasped when she saw the dark- haired woman from the pictures. She no longer looked like the lively woman from the pictures. Now she looked sickly and gaunt, with bags under her eyes. Her breathing was ragged, and it looked like she was straining to keep her eyes open. It disturbed Inara to see her like that. She didn’t understand why, but she felt grief for this woman.

Just then, the woman’s eyes connected with Inara’s and a small, loving smile spread over her face. Inara’s eyes widened, unsure if the woman could see her. Then the woman opened her mouth to speak, confirming Inara’s question. “Come to me, Inara. I’m waiting.”

So many questions were running through Inara’s mind. Who was this woman? How did she know Inara? And why did Inara feel like she knew her as well? Why was this woman waiting for her? But before she could ask any of those questions, the sensation of being pulled started again, and she knew that the vision was about to end. This time, Inara fought the feeling with everything she had, desperate not to leave, but it was pointless. This feeling was too strong. Soon a white life began to engulf Inara, forcing her to shut her eyes as the vision ended…

When Inara opened her eyes, she was greeted with Kivar’s worried face as he stared down at her, tenderly brushing her hair from her face. He gasped a sigh of relief when Inara finally awoke.

“Are you alright?” He asked, scooting back to allow her room to sit back up on the couch.

She gave him a jerky nod as she sat up, taking deep breaths to try and calm herself down. She looked down at the book that was still sitting in her lap. “It worked.”

Kivar watched Inara as her fingers lightly traced the cover of the book. Immediately, concern was replaced with excitement. “What did you see?”

“A woman,” she replied, still studying the book. “Dark hair. Early fifties. She spoke to me.”

“What did she say?”

Finally, her fingers stopped moving and she gave Kivar a confused look. “That she was waiting for me.”

Excitement turned to frustration as he started firing questions at Inara. “She’s waiting for you? What does that mean? What else did she say?”

Inara’s mouth opened and closed several times, looking like a fish out of water, before she gave up and looked away. “I’m sorry,” she said, feeling disappointed with herself.

With a sigh, Kivar ran his fingers through his hair, trying to get control of his emotions. “It’s not your fault. This just isn’t very helpful.”

Inara slumped back onto the couch, going over the vision. Trying to piece together something that could help them. There had to be something in that vision that could tell—

“Wait!” She blurted out, sitting back up. “The cabin I was at it. It was different than anything I’d ever seen before. I don’t think I was on Antar.”

Kivar frowned as he watched Inara lean over and start rummaging through her cloak. “I don’t really see how that’s going too—”

Just then, Inara pulled out her necklace and flipped the pendant over. On the back was a small painting of a cabin sitting next to what Kivar could only guess was water of some kind. But it was different than the waters on any of the five worlds.

“This is the place I saw,” she said, her finger pointing at the cabin. “This is the place I saw.”

Kivar took the necklace, studying it closely. “You’re right. I don’t think these woods are on Antar. They’re not on any of the five planets.” He turned back to Inara, who was looking at me with delight in her eyes. She was so beautiful when she was happy. “Inara, may I keep this necklace for a little while. I want to have it analyzed.”

Inara smile dimmed a little as she looked down at the necklace in Kivar’s hand. It was strange. As much trouble as that stupid trinket had caused her, she was oddly hesitant to part with it, even if it was only temporary. “You’ll tell me if you find anything.”

Kivar nodded. “Of course.”

After a moment, she nodded her head in agreement before standing up and grabbing her cloak off the arm of the couch. “It’s getting late. I should go home.”

Kivar agreed and placed the book back in the silver briefcase, snapping the latches closed, taking it with him as he followed Inara out of the cabin. He shut the door behind him and looked the left, seeing Nikolai standing by the carriage a few feet away, keeping watch of the woods. Kivar than turned back to Inara as she mounted her stead and prepared to head home. “Inara, may I ask why you wanted to meet here?”

Inara glanced back at the cottage, a smile threatening to spread on her lips as she thought of Zan, but she managed to appear neutral as she shrugged. “I used to come here as a child,” she lied. “It was the most private place I could think of. Goodnight, Kivar.”

“Goodnight, Inara.”

He stood there and watched as Inara and her horse galloped off into the night. He then looked down at pendant, touching the pendant with his fingers.

“Did you get anything useful?” Nikolai asked as she walked over to Kivar.

Kivar didn’t look back Nikolai. He just continued to stare at the necklace in his hand. “Perhaps.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Zan had just returned to the palace when one of the maids approached him and bowed her head. “The King has requested you in the great hall, your Highness.”

“Thank you,” he replied before making his way in the direction of the great hall. As he entered the large room, he paused when he spotted his parents standing in the center of the room, kneeling their heads together. They looked so intimate and tender and Zan almost felt like a voyeur just standing there watching them. But he couldn’t help but watch them with envy. The devotion between them was inspiring and, as he looked at them, he saw a glimpse of what he hoped his future would be with Inara. The two of them ruling together with love and respect. One day, he promised himself. One day soon, he was going to make Inara his wife. He turned to leave, wanting to give his parents some privacy. But just as he put his hand on doorknob, his mother’s voice stopped him.

“Zan,” Amara called out as she walked towards her son, lightly kissing him on the cheek and pulling him over to join her and Garok.

Zan smiled sheepishly at being caught. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to intrude.”

“Nonsense, darling.” She continued leading him until they both came to a stop in front Garok. “Your father and I just wanted to say how proud we are of you. This past six weeks, you’ve made remarkable progress in your training. We’re so happy.”

“Thank you,” he said. But noticing the looks between his parents, he could sense there was more going on. “Is there something else?” He asked, looking at them both cautiously.

“Well, yes,” Amara admitted. “Your father was telling me about a girl you’ve been courting, and we were wondering when we’re going to meet her.”

“Oh.” That was all he could say as watched the eager expression on his mother’s face.

“It sounds like you’re serious about this girl,” she said, hopeful at the prospect of her son finally settling down.
Despite the discomfort he felt about having this conversation, a warm smile still formed on his lips as an image of Inara came to his mind. “I am.”

“Great. Then it’s settled,” Garok said firmly, giving his son a pointed look. “We’ll meet her in three weeks.”

Zan’s smile faded a little as he stared at his father. “Three weeks?”

Garok cocked a brow. “I believe three weeks is plenty of time. Son, I’m proud of the progress you’ve made, but I meant what I said. It’s time for you to settle down and find a suitable wife.”

The firm look on his father’s face told Zan there was no arguing his way out of this. Finally, he nodded in acceptance and Garok smiled.

“Wonderful,” he said happily. “We can’t wait to meet her.”

Amara immediately pulled Zan into a warm hug. “I’m so happy for you,” she gushed before releasing him and leaving the great hall with her husband.

As Zan watched them leave, he couldn’t help but think his father was right about finding a good wife. And he couldn’t imagine any woman being better for him than Inara. And as much he was enjoying having her all to himself, he couldn’t help but be a little jealous looking at how open other couples could be with each other. He wanted to be able to hold her hand in public, to kiss her, to show the world that she was his and he was hers. The more he thought about this, the more hopeful he felt about his parents finding out about him and Inara. They loved her. He was sure that they’d be thrilled to call her daughter-in-law. And he couldn’t wait to finally make her his wife.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Rath returned to his barracks after a twelve-hour shift feeling exhausted and frustrated. The guard had been there for a month and there were still no signs of terrorist activity anywhere. He’d had a meeting with the commander the other day and could tell by his impatience that it wouldn’t be long before he pulled the unit out of the village. Logically, he understood his commander’s reasoning, but Rath couldn’t shake the feeling that something terrible would happen if they removed protection from these people.

With a tired sigh, Rath collapsed down on his cot, savoring the feeling of the pillow on the back of his head. He was just about to drift off to sleep when footsteps approached, and he opened his eyes to see his friend Zayne standing there.

“Long night?” Zayne asked as he sat down on the cot adjacent to Rath’s.

Rath resumed closing his eyes. “The longest.”

Zayne leaned back against the wall behind his cot, resting his hands on his chest. “Hopefully we’ll be out of this place soon. I need some action.” He then snuck a look at his friend. “Speaking of action, who’s the sexy blond you’ve been hanging out with lately?”

The mention of Coraline made Rath open his eyes, but he wouldn’t look at Zayne. “A friend.”

Just a friend?” He asked, looking skeptical. Zayne wasn’t blind. He saw how much time Rath had been spending with the pretty blonde in the last couple of weeks. And only a fool could miss the way they looked at each other.

Rath took a deep breath, trying to contain his annoyance as he turned to look at his annoyingly nosey friend. “Yes. Just a friend.”

“That’s good. Because it would be extremely unwise to cheat on Princess Vilandra.”

With that, Rath sat up in his cot and gave Zayne a serious look. “Let me make this clear. I have never, no do I ever intend to be unfaithful to my wife. And you better not spread rumors around. Got it?”

“Got it,” Zayne said with a chuckle, holding his hands up in mock surrender. “No need to get so defensive.

Rath laid back down on his pillow, feeling frustrated by his friend’s accusation. What bothered him more, though, was the fact that the accusation wasn’t wrong. Not entirely anyway. No, he and Coraline hadn’t been intimate together and he had no plans of letting it get that far either, but their friendship wasn’t harmless, and he knew it. He’d been spending his evenings he wasn’t working at the tavern with Coraline, talking and drinking. On the surface, it seemed innocent, but every time they were together, he could feel the attraction brewing between them. Palpable and overwhelming. And that left him with a feeling of guilt. The right thing to do would be to end their friendship since he knew that he had no intention of pursuing the attraction between them. But the selfish part of him wanted to enjoy this a little longer. To allow himself the fulfillment of feeling wanted and desired before he had to return to a wife who looked at him with nothing but spite. He wasn’t proud of it, but the selfish part of him was winning.

Just then, the doors to the barracks burst open and a soldier, Kanin, strode inside, a grim expression etched all over his face. “Get dressed now,” he ordered. “the commander wants us all outside in five.”

Rath and Zayne immediately stood up from their cots, exchanging worried looks before turning back to Kanin. “What’s going on?” Rath asked.

“A girl was taken.”

Re: Love & War on Antar (AU,M/L,ADULT) Ch. 21 9/24/2018

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:34 pm
by keepsmiling7
Now wait, you have just returned and you leave us hanging off a cliff!
Who is the girl that was taken?
Can't wait for more........and to have answers to the mystery.

Re: Love & War on Antar (AU,M/L,ADULT) Ch. 21 9/24/2018

Posted: Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:05 pm
by Cocogurl
keepsmiling7 - Let's just say that there will be some twists with this kidnapping storyline. :twisted: I hope you like it.

Chapter Twenty-Two

The sun started to peak over the horizon as Rath and his squad decided to end their search for the night and head back to the barracks. Rath walked beside his friend, Zayne, feeling a sense of disappointment he’d never felt before. After he and the rest of the squad reported to their commander, they were informed that an eighteen-year old girl—Kyla was her name—had been taken from her bed. After that, the entire squad began searching every inch of the village, even searching people’s homes, but they couldn’t find a single trace of her. Rath felt like a failure. This had happened while he was on watch, so whatever happened to this girl was on his hands.

“We’ll find her, Rath,” Zayne tried to assure his friend, but the doubt was evident in his voice.

Rath shook his head, in no mood for a pep talk. “This shouldn’t have even happened. I should’ve been more vigilant. Gods! She’s just a kid. She’s my sister’s age.” Thinking back on the image of the girl the commander had shown them before they started their search, it disturbed him to see how much the girl resembled Inara. It only served to increase his desire to find the girl.

“Stop blaming yourself. We did the best we could.”

“We should’ve done better,” Rath muttered as he continued walking. They continued the rest of their journey in silence, both lost in their own thoughts. As Rath spotted the barracks coming into view, he paused. This was the last place he wanted to be at that moment and he turned to Zayne, who was watching him in confusion. “Will you cover for me for a little bit? I’m just not ready to head back.”

Zayne nodded. “Sure. Where are you going?”

Rath simply shrugged, already taking steps away from the camp. “I just need to clear my head.”

Rath found himself wandering aimlessly around the village, hoping to spot any trace of the girl anywhere, though he knew it was pointless. The girl was most likely long gone now. And it’s my fault, his mind immediately thought. Guilt and helplessness built up inside of him and all he wanted to do was punch something. He didn’t care what it was, he just wanted to hit something until these feeling went away. Clenching his fists tightly to fight back his violent urges, he continued walking, a little faster than before, until he found himself standing in front of Coraline’s home.

He honestly didn’t know how he got there. He’d never intended to, but somehow, his subconscious took him there. The rational part of his mind told him to turn around, to walk away and not put himself in a compromising position. But his feet refused to listen, and he found himself walking towards her house, stopping when he was in front of her door.

He knocked on the door and, after a moment, it opened and Coraline was standing there, her eyes widened slightly as she stared at him. Quickly she shot a glance over her should before stepping outside and shutting the door behind her. “Rath? W-what are you doing here?”

For a moment, Rath thought Coraline looked nervous, but he dismissed it. She was probably just surprised to see him. That thought suddenly made him feel self-conscious about being there. “I’m sorry if I’m bothering you. I just…I just needed someone to talk to.” Rath nervously looked down to the ground, wondering if she’d turn him away. “Can I come in?”

Coraline eyed him, looking like she was internally debating with herself. Just as Rath was about to take this as a hint and leave, Coraline opened the door and went inside, stepping aside for him. With a small smile, he entered her home.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
As Zan stepped outside to the garden, he was relieved to see that it was empty. After spending the entire morning in meetings with his father, he was desperate for some time alone. Learning from his father had been a great experience but an overwhelming one, and he gained a new appreciation for his father as a leader. The way he led his people, being both kind and fair in his rulings amazed Zan. He could see why his father was beloved by the people and he hoped that one day he could be that kind of leader. Lost in his own thoughts, he was unaware of the presence behind him until the feminine voice spoke.

“Are you all right, dear?” Queen Amara asked as she joined her son in the garden.

Zan jumped in surprise then smiled sheepishly down at his mother. “Yes, I’m fine. I just have some things on my mind.”

Amara nodded, strolling over to a bench in front of small fountain and sat down. “Do you mind if we speak for a moment?”

With a small nod, he joined his mother on the bench. “Is everything all right?”

“Yes, I was just thinking about this girl you’ve been seeing. I’d like to know more about her.” Noticing the way Zan tensed up, she smiled sympathetically at him. “You’re worried about us meeting her?”

With a sigh, Zan nodded. “I just want you to approve of her.”

“Why are you so worried we won’t approve?”

Zan was silent for a long moment, staring absently at the fountain in front of him as he tried to decide what he was going to say. Finally, he decided she’d be the best person to break the news to. Ignoring the nervousness in his gut, he turned to Amara. “It’s Inara.”

The stunned expression on his mother’s face might have been amusing, if he wasn’t busy wondering what was passing through her head. “Does her father know?” She finally asked, her expression changing from surprised to concern.

Zan shook his head, feeling a sting of guilt for lying to her family. “Given my past, I doubt her father would be thrilled with the news.”

“I see,” she said simply, knowing all too well of her son’s reputation with women. And if she was honest with herself, she couldn’t help but worry about Zan’s intentions. “Are you serious about her, Zan? This isn’t just another fling?”

Zan could see the concern in his mother’s eyes and hoped she would believe the sincerity in his face when he looked at her. “I’m in love with her, mother.”

Amara watched Zan intently, surprised to hear those words coming out of his mouth. And as he said, she knew he was telling the truth. She then reached into her dress pocket and pulled out a little silver box and held it out to Zan. “Then I want you to have this.”

Zan frowned at Amara in confusion but took the box from her hand. Once he opened it, his eyes widened as he stared down at the gold ring resting inside.

“I’m not giving this to you because of your father’s deadline,” she told him. “I’ve been watching you these last few weeks. There’s a light in your eyes that I haven’t seen in a long time. You’re happy.”

Zan continued to study the ring, a smile spreading over his lips as he imagined Inara wearing it on her finger. “I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy.”

A warm smile came as she stared at her son. Her son’s happiness brought back memories of her and Garok when they were younger. “Your father gave me this ring when we were seventeen,” she told Zan, getting lost in her thoughts. “We’d been promised to each other since we were five, so there was no need for him to do it. But he wanted me to know that he wasn’t marrying me because of our families. He wasn’t marrying me for political gain. He wanted me to know that he chose me to spend the rest of his life with.” Still smiling, she gently took Zan’s hand in hers. “If you feel this strongly about Inara then you should have it.”

“You think father will approve of us?”

Amara stood from her spot on the bench and softly stroked Zan’s cheek. “I think your father would be happy with whoever makes his son happy.”

Bending down slightly, Amara placed a loving kiss on Zan’s forehead. As she straightened and turned to leave, Zan watched her go before his eyes went back down to the gold ring in his hand, his mind racing with thoughts of his future.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Rath sat back on Coraline’s love seat, staring at the crackling fire in the hearth but not really seeing it. In his mind, he was with Kyla, wondering what was happening to her in that moment. Maybe she was already dead. Coraline poured two glasses of wine and strode over to the loveseat, handing a glass to Rath, who was barely paying attention to her, before sitting down beside him.

“She’s just a kid,” Rath muttered before taking a swig of his wine. “This shouldn’t have happened.”

“It’s terrible,” she agreed, taking a sip of her wine as she stared into the fire as well, clearly lost in her own thoughts.

“She’s probably dead by now.”

The bitterness in his voice made Coraline’s head snap in his direction. “You don’t know that, Rath.”

“If she’s not dead yet, she will be.” Without warning, Rath slammed his glass down on the table and abruptly shot up from his seat, surprising Coraline. “Every girl that’s been taken has ended up dead. What makes her so different?”

“Maybe, she is different,” Something about the tone in Coraline’s voice made Rath turn around. There was a look in her eyes that he couldn’t quite place, but it disturbed him to see it.

“What do you mean?”

Noticing the expression in Rath’s eyes, Coraline caught herself. “I just mean that, from what the village has said about her, she seems like a strong girl. I’m sure she’ll make it through this.”

She kept her expression supportive and reassuring, but Coraline wasn’t sure if he believed her. “Maybe you should get some rest Rath,” she said, hoping he didn’t see how eager she was for him to leave. “It’s been a long night.”

“Yeah, you’re right.”

Standing from the couch, Coraline walked Rath to the front door. Just as he started to leave, she stopped him and took his hand in hers. “I know you’re worried about the girl, Rath. But I truly believe everything will work out.”

He could see the kindness in her eyes, making him forget about her weird behavior a moment ago. Her fingers, stroking his, were warm and soft, and all he wanted to do was stay with her. The intensity of his gaze overwhelmed Coraline and for a moment, she thought he might kiss her. But then he took a step back from, giving Coraline a friendly smile. She returned the smile, trying to stifle her disappointment.

“Thank you, Coraline. For listening to me.”

She nodded. “Of course.”

Without thinking, Rath leaned down and pressed his lips to her cheek, wanting to feel her skin against his lips in anyway he could. “Goodnight, Coraline.”

“Goodnight, Rath.”

With one last, lingering look, he left. Coraline let out a breath, both of relief and regret. She turned and headed in the direction of her bedroom when the messenger on her writs started beeping. As soon as she tapped the screen, a male voice came on over the speaker. “Were you successful?”

“Yes,” Coraline replied as she came into her bedroom. Pulling her closet doors open, she looked down at the Kyla, who was tied up and unconscious on the closet floor. “I have her.”

Re: Love & War on Antar (AU,M/L,ADULT) Ch. 22 11/20/18

Posted: Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:11 pm
by keepsmiling7
We're beginning to get some answers. It takes a while to get all of the character in order.
Nice that Zan was in meetings with his father, and now appreciates all his father has to do in ruling the country.
Of course Zan's mother is on his side when she sees how happy he is with Inara.
Sure hope Kyla will be found soon.
Thanks, Carolyn

Re: Love & War on Antar (AU,M/L,ADULT) Ch. 22 11/20/18

Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:47 pm
by Cocogurl

Re: Love & War on Antar (AU,M/L,ADULT) Author's Note: 12/2/18

Posted: Tue May 14, 2019 10:01 am
by Cocogurl
Chapter Twenty-three

Coraline silently made her way through the back alleys of tiny Antarian village, keeping her eyes alert for any guards that could be patrolling the area. It had been two since Kyra’s abduction—since she had abducted the girl—and the entire village was still in a panic. Curfew had been enacted immediately after the girl’s disappearance and for most people, that would make sneaking around difficult. Not for Coraline. She’d always been good at sneaking in and out of her home when she was young girl and, surprisingly, this wasn’t much different. It hadn’t been hard for her to memorize the guard routes and avoid them. Taking two left turns and one right, Coraline found herself standing in front of a tall, wooden fence. Giving a quick scan to make sure no one was around to see her; she crouched down and pulled a couple of boards loose. Being as small as she was, it was easy for her to slip through the opening she had made and once through, she started darting across a dirt field, hugging large boulders and stray trees to avoid being seen by the tower guards. Once she was further away from the village and felt confident that she wouldn’t be seen, she relaxed a little, but kept her pace brisk. She kept going until she found herself by a small stream and turned right, allowing the water to lead her to her destination. Ten minutes later, she found herself standing in front of a small, dilapidated church.

Coraline could feel eyes peering at her through the trees as she made her way to the small, wooden building and her entire body froze when she heard the snap of twig. Panic filled every part of her as she scanned the trees, searching for any sign of someone. Had she been followed? She thought she’d been careful enough, but when her landed on a figure moving towards her through the trees, she knew she was wrong. Slowly, she slipped a hand into her jacket, reaching for the knife kept tucked away in there. But her panic eased when she noticed that the person coming towards her wearing robes. She released her grip on the glared at the hooded figure. “It’s not wise to sneak up on people with knifes,” she snipped.

The man started blankly at Coraline, clearly not amused by her, then pointed in the direction of the church. Coraline didn’t need him to speak to know he was ordering to continue towards the church, and she did as she directed. She stopped at the double doors, put her hand on the metal handles. As she pulled, the doors opened with a loud screech before she stepped inside. The room was mostly empty except for a couple of turned over pews and dirt and leaves scattered everywhere. The windows were boarded up, but little sliver of moonlight still managed to break through, helping to create the eerie atmosphere around her. And completing the disturbing picture was Kyra, bound and gagged on a concrete slab at the center of the stage. The young woman was curled up in the fetal position, whimpering in pain and as Coraline could see why. Her white dress was in her tatters and her petite form was covered in cuts and bruises. Coraline even noticed burn marks and her stomach started to feel queasy.

She had known that Kyra would be tested to see if she possessed The Light, but the High priest had been vague about what the testing would entail. That hadn’t bothered initially because, as a recruit, it wasn’t her place to question authority. But seeing the reality before her…Gods! This poor girl.

“Were you followed?” A deep male voice asked behind her, startling her out of her thoughts.

“No,” she said, trying to keep her expression neutral as she turned to face the high priest. The man was tall with a wiry frame and dark, slicked backed hair. His dark eyes peered into Coraline, making her want to disappear into the flood. Everything about this man’s presence seemed hard and cruel and she just knew wouldn’t share her sympathy towards Kyra.

“Are you sure?” He asked sternly.

“Don’t you trust me?” She smirked, hoping that she’d be able to get him to crack a smile, but his expression remained hard and there was now a hint of annoyance in his eyes. He was clearly not amused.

“The guards have intensified their search for the girl. It was a stroke of luck that we were able to get her here and undetected. But it won’t be long until they find this church as well.

Coraline sobered at his words. “Apologies, sir. I assure you that I wasn’t followed.” She glanced behind her at the girl, who was still whimpering and moaning in her unconscious state. Another pang of remorse hit her. “What are we going to do about her?’

With a frustrated sigh, the high priest walked towards the girl and gently grasped her face in his hand. Something about the way he was examining Kyra unnerved Coraline and she had to resist the urge to step in between them. “I’m beginning to think she’s not the one we’re looking for.”

“If she’s not?”

Studying the girl for another moment, the priest finally released the girl’s face and turned his attention back to Coraline, which she was thankful for. At least until opened his mouth to answer her. “We’ll dispose of her.”

Suddenly Coraline felt a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. She had no doubt what dispose meant. When she’d been initiated into the Church of Light, she had known that other girls had been taken before Kyra. Those girls were never returned home once the Church had taken them, but she had chosen not to think about their fates. It wasn’t her concern, she told herself. Her only job is serving the priest however he needed her to. But now the reality was hitting her like a ton of bricks.

“Do we have to do that, sir?” She asked without thinking, but quickly regretted when the priest’s gaze turned suspicious. “I mean, are we sure we can’t still use her?”

The high priest began pacing, disappointment clear on his face. “The tests we’ve run haven’t wielded any results. If she doesn’t possess The Light, she’s of no use to us. Besides, we can’t risk her letting people know where we are.” He stopped, glancing back at Coraline. “I understand that you’re still new to our ways, but this is for the best. We must find The Light.”

Sparing the girl one last glance, Coraline turned back to the priest and nodded, a look of resolve on her face. For the Goddess.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Everyone was gathered at the palace to celebrate the Springtide Festival and Zan had to admit, they had outdone themselves this year. It all looked like a fairytale. Twinkling lights and flowers were strung everywhere. Drapes hung from the ceiling in various shades of green, purple, pink. The guests were all dressed in beautifully ornate outfits as they celebrated. It was beautiful, but still, none of it compared to the beauty that Zan witnessed across the ballroom. With a smile, Zan watched Inara as she happily chatted with a few of the guests. Standing there in her teal halter dress, her dark hair framing her face in in loose curls, her face alight with laughter, Zan couldn’t think of anything more breathtaking than that. He watched her for another moment before finally heading in her direction.

As he got closer, Inara’s eyes went to him and the look of joy on her face made his heart skip a beat. He still couldn’t believe that this amazing woman could look at him with such love, but gods, he knew he would never get enough of it. He returned her smile eagerly as he approached her.
The other two women finally noticed who was standing next to them and smiled bashfully at the prince before bowing their heads. Inara bowed as well. He gave the girls a small nod of acknowledgement before turning his attention to Inara. “May I speak with you a moment?”

“Of course, your Highness.” Inara gave her friends a quick goodbye before allowing Zan to lead her away. “Is everything all right?”

“Yes, I just…I have something to tell you something.” Zan spotted a private spot in the corner of the ballroom and, with his hand on Inara’s back, led her over to it. “I know I should’ve told you this sooner, but I told my mother about us.”

Inara’s eyes widened in surprise. “What was her reaction?”

“She was surprised,” Zan said with a small chuckle. “But she approves of us.”

Hearing Zan say that filled Inara with a sense of relief. She glanced over at the Queen, who was happily dancing with the King on the dance floor and was surprised that neither of them had given any indication to her that they knew about her and Zan. “Does your father know as well?”

Zan shook his head. “No, I haven’t told him yet. But that’s the other thing I needed to tell you. My father wants to have dinner with us next week. And I want to tell him then.”

This surprised Inara even more and she studied him for a moment, trying to decide if he was serious. “I thought you wanted to keep our relationship a secret. What changed your mind?”

Zan’s heart started pounding nervously in his chest. A part of really wanted to declare his desire to marry her right then and there, but he knew he couldn’t. She deserved better than that. Before he said anything, though, Serena and Larek walked over to them. They both greeted Zan and then Serena turned her attention to Inara.

“Apologies, your Highness,” she said to Zan before grasping Inara’s hand. “Would you mind if I stole Inara away for a moment? This was our favorite song when we were kids.”

With a smile, Zan nodded his head and watched as Inara and Serena rushed out onto the dance floor. He continued to watch Inara dance when laughter beside him broke him out of his trance and he remembered that Larek was still there.

“Gods! You’ve got it so bad for her,” he said, still smiling. “It’s a wonder you two have been able to sneak around for this long.”

Zan opened his mouth to protest against Larek’s implication, but then decided that it was pointless. Shaking his head, he turned his attention back to where Inara was on the dance floor. “Well, it won’t be a secret for much longer.”

Larek arched a brow as he stared at his long-time friend with curiosity. “Really? I’m intrigued.”

“Well, that’s good because I might need your help.”

With Larek’s nod of agreement, Zan immediately went on to tell him about the ring his mother gave him and the two began excitedly plotting.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Rath returned to village after another fruitless search for Kyra and felt like a complete failure. At this point, he knew the odds of finding that young woman alive was highly unlikely. The sun started to peak over the horizon as he reached his barracks, and he felt a pang of guilt in his chest, knowing that Kyra would never see a sunrise again. She’d never get up in the morning, have breakfast with her family, she was never going to grow up and have a happy, fulfilling life because they failed. Because he failed. He walked inside the barracks, eager to collapse on his bed and pass out, hopefully forget how useless he felt. But he paused when he saw a letter resting on her pillow. One of his fellow soldiers was on his way out when Rath stopped him and pointed at the paper. “Who left that?”

“Not sure,” the soldier said with shrug before striding out of the barracks.

Rath grasped the note and opened it. As his eyes scanned over the paper, his eyes widened and, for the first time in weeks, felt a swell of hope.

“Hey, Rath,” Zayne greeted, but Rath barely heard him as he rushed out of the barracks and in the direction of the commander’s quarters, almost knocking several people over on the way there. Immediately, he started slamming his fist on the door, praying to the gods that he was still in. It felt like it took hours for the commander’s door to open, though it was probably only a minute or two. And he was greeted with the sight of a disheveled, older looking man with graying hair and he was staring daggers at Rath.

“What?” The commander yelled angrily.

“Apologies, commander,” Rath replied, out of breath as he shoved the crumpled piece of paper in the older man’s direction. “But you need to read this.”

The commander snatched the paper from Rath, looking it over, and Rath watched as the commander’s entire body tensed and his expression changed from anger to shock. “Where did you get this?”

“It was left on my rack.”

This made the commander look at Rath curiously. “That’s convenient.” His eyes went back down to the note, scanning it for a second time. “Thank you for bringing this to my attention. We’ll look into this.”

Without another word, the commander stepped back into his quarters and the doors slid shut, leaving Rath standing there, anticipation flooding his body. There was no way he was sleeping now.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Kivar paced impatiently in one of the secret tunnels underneath the Zantarian Palace. He’d been there for at least thirty minutes waiting for Nikolai to show up. And as he continued to pace, he could feel his frustration mounting. He was getting ready to leave when he heard footsteps behind and turned to see Nikolai striding towards him. “I hope you have some good news for, General,” Kivar said with irritation. “I’d hate to think recruiting you was a waste.”

“Nice to see you too, brother ,” Nikolai shot back, enjoying the way Kivar glared daggers at him. He chuckled. “I have a lead on the woman from Inara’s vision. The reason we haven’t been able to figure out where those woods are is because they aren’t located on any of the five planets.”

Kivar’s glare turned to a look of confusion. “Then where are they?”

Nikolai’s smiled widened. “Earth.”
As Kivar processed this information, a smile grew on his face as the excitement began to build. “I guess we’ll be making a trip to earth.”

“Are you going to tell Inara?”

Kivar considered that for a moment. More than anything, he wanted her to be by his side when he met with this woman. But he wasn’t sure she was ready for the answers they’d find. “I will…eventually.”

Re: Love & War on Antar (AU,M/L,ADULT) Ch. 23 5/14/19

Posted: Tue May 14, 2019 12:09 pm
by keepsmiling7
It makes me happy to see an update here!
Will the light be found??
It's good that the Queen approves of Inara.....
The search for Kyra continues.
Kivar is going to earth........wonder what he will find there??

Re: Love & War on Antar (AU,M/L,ADULT) Ch. 23 5/14/19

Posted: Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:58 am
by Cocogurl

Re: Love & War on Antar (AU,M/L,ADULT) A/N: 10/16/19

Posted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 6:22 pm
by Cocogurl
keepsmiling7 - I hope you enjoy this next part! :D

Chapter Twenty-Four

After reading the letter that Rath got, the General gathered his men in the war to strategize. Four hours later, Rath and his unit were marching through the wilderness towards the church.

“You think this is a trap?” Zayne asked, walking beside Rath as his eyes scanned the area around him.

I think we need to be prepared for anything,” Rath replied.

“Do you think the girl’s alive? I can’t imagine that she would be—”

“Let’s just focus,” Rath said, cutting his friend off. The truth was, his mind had already gone there. That maybe they’d already killed her. But his mind dismissed the thought as quickly as it came. Kyra had to be alive. He refused to believe that they had failed to save her.

An hour later, they finally came upon an old rundown church and the commander raised his hand, a signal for all the men to stop. They all halted. Rath’s eyes began to move over the area around the church. Everything was silent, there was no sign of movement anywhere. Rath suddenly had a bad feeling that Zayne was right about this being a trap. Just then he caught movement to his left and he spotted the cloaked figure crouched behind the bushes, he knew his suspicions were right. He then looked down at the phaser in the figure’s hand and saw that it was trained on the back of the commander’s head. Rath immediately started running towards the commander.

“Get down!” Rath shouted, knocking the commander out of the way just as a shot was fired from the woods. As Rath and the commander got to their feet, more cloaked figures stepped out from behind the trees and began firing on the soldiers. Chaos ensued as the soldiers took out their weapons and began firing at the cult members. Rath raised his phaser and blasted on of the members directly in the chest just as he heard his commander’s voice shouting at him.

‘Rath! You and Zayne get to the church. We’ll cover you!”

Rath didn’t hesitate. He immediately started charging towards the church, barely paying attention to the fighting around him. As he got to the double doors, he heard a scuffle behind him and turned around to see Zayne on the ground grappling with a very large, bald cult member. He was just about to rush over to help, but Zayne quickly got the upper hand, landing a punch on the man’s jaw before flipping him over and pinning him to the ground. He gave a quick glance to Rath. “Go! I’ll be fine.”

Assured that he was okay, Rath turned and rushed toward the church doors, pulling on one of the large door handles. The door opened with a loud screech, but Rath didn’t care as he ran inside, his mind focused solely on Kyra. At the front of the church Rath spotted Kyra tied down on a pedestal with two cult members standing on either side of her. The high priest stood behind the pedestal, arms raised and Rath could clearly see a dagger in his hands. As he prepared to plunge it into Kyra’s chest, Rath felt his entire body fill with rage. The three of them look up just in time to see Rath pulling out his phaser and aiming it at the priest. As he fired, the cultist on the left jumped in front of the priest, taking the blast in the stomach. The cult member on the right started charging at Rath, tackling him before he could shoot again.

The two men fought and struggled before Rath found himself pinned down to the floor and the man’s hands wrapped around his neck, attempting to strangle him. Rath clawed and kicked, trying to free himself from the man’s grasp. The man was too big, too strong, and Rath found his own strength weakening as the man’s grip tightened around his neck. In the corner of his eye, he could see the Priest and the other wounded cult member, whose face he still couldn’t identify, working to untie Kyra. A surge of panic went through Rath as he realized they were planning on taking her with them. Desperate to get to her, Rath gathered whatever strength he could and swung a punch at the man’s jaw. It knocked him off balance only slightly, but it was enough to get him to loosen his grip around Rath’s throat. Rath noticed a jagged piece of glass to the left and just before the man could start choking him again, Rath reached for it and plunged it into the man’s side. The cultist cried out in agony as blood oozed from the wound and he fell to the floor. Rath rolled to his side and got to his feet just as the double doors burst open and Antarian soldiers came pouring into the church.

Zayne rushed over to Rath and, after glancing down at the man whimpering in pain on floor, looked at his friend. “Are you okay?”

Rath gave Zayne a jerky nod and turned back to the pedestal at the front of the church. The priest and his follower were gone but Kyra was still tied down. They must have decided against trying to escape with her, Rath figured. He ran over to the girl, who was now crying and screaming as she struggled against the binds on her wrists and ankles.

“It’s okay, you’re safe now,” Rath assured her as he went to work untying the ropes. “Just hold still.

Quickly he undid the restraints on her wrists and then reach down and released her ankles as well. Once she was free, Rath helped her sit up and she wrapped her arms around his neck, holding him tightly against her as she sobbed. “Thank the gods!” She said in between tears. “Thank you.”

Rath held her close, feeling immense relief and pride in that moment.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Rath and his unit returned to camp just before sunrise. Kyra was immediately taken to the infirmary to be treated for her injuries. Seeing her beaten and battered body lying there on the pedestal, Rath didn’t need doctors to tell him that the poor girl had been tortured. Rath shivered at the thought of all the horrors that poor girl had endured, but he took comfort in knowing that she was safe. Once he was sure that she was taken care of, he left the base and immediately headed into the village. He was exhausted and every bone in his body ached, but he was still too wired to rest. He wanted to celebrate, and he knew just who he wanted to celebrate with.

Before he knew it, he found himself standing in front of Coraline’s home and eagerly rushed to the door and began knocking. When she didn’t respond, he knocked again. After the third time, it being so early in the morning, she was probably still sleeping. Feeling foolish, he turned to leave when the door opened slightly and Coraline poked her head out. She didn’t look like she’d been asleep, but she certainly looked surprised to see him.

“Rath? It’s late. Is everything all right?”

Rath couldn’t contain his smile as he looked at her. “We found her,” he said. “We found Kyra.”

Coraline gave him a small smile. “That’s amazing, Rath. I knew you’d find her.”

“We also captured a couple members of the church. Hopefully we’ll be able to find out where the priest and the rest of his people are hiding.” After he said that, Rath noticed the way Coraline’s smile faltered. For a moment, she almost looked scared. But as quickly as it came, the expression was gone and her smile returned, so Rath assumed he was seeing things.

“That’s wonderful news,” she said.

“Yes, it is. And the first thing I wanted to do was come here and celebrate with you.”

“Oh.” Coraline looked regretful as she took a step back, closing the door a little more. “I wish I could, but I’m exhausted and honestly, I haven’t been feeling all that well.”

Hearing that, Rath grew concerned as he took a step towards her. “Is everything okay? Do you want me to stay?”

Quickly, she shook her head. “I’ll be fine. I just need to rest.”

Though she was doing her best to appear fine, Rath could see that she was struggling. “Coraline…”

“Rath, I promise. I’ll be okay.”

He wanted to argue and insist that he stay, but he could tell by her slightly frustrated expression, that it wouldn’t be well received. With reluctance, he gave her small nod. “Okay. Goodnight then.”

“Goodnight, Rath,” she replied before quickly shutting the door.

Once it was closed, Coraline slumped against the wall beside her, gasping in pain. Glancing down at her blood-soaked shirt, she knew she needed to get her wound patched up. Gathering all the strength she could, she pushed herself off the wall and made her way to the bathroom to clean up. Every movement was excruciating, and tears began to slide down her cheeks from the pain, but eventually, she made it to the restroom and gathered her first aid equipment from the cupboard.

As she began cleaning and bandaging her wound, her mind went over the events of the last few hours. The battle at the church had been swift. The Antarian soldiers outnumbered her fellow cult members so their defeat had been inevitable. Coraline had managed to escape with the High Priest, but not before being shot by Rath’s phaser. Breathing heavily from the pain she was in, Coraline wondered if this was the goddess’s punishment for her betrayal. She knew that slipping Rath the directions to Kyra’s whereabouts was a betrayal to the church and the High Priest, but after seeing that poor girl’s battered face, Coraline knew that she couldn’t allow her to die. Goddess forgive her, but she couldn’t. She just prayed that she didn’t come to regret her act of mercy.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Kivar sat by himself in the study, going over the map he’d gotten from Inara’s necklace. He and Nikolai figured out that the woods from Inara’s vision were located on earth, more specifically in a territory called Washington State. The travel plans were set, his father was away on a business trip and Kivar already had a cover story prepared just in case any spies in his father’s employ were keeping tabs on him—and Kivar had no doubt they were. With his plan perfected, Kivar smiled to himself, the knowledge of how close he was to finding the Light filling him with excitement. In the back of his mind, felt a small twinge of guilt for not sharing his plans with Inara, but he brushed them aside, telling himself it was for her protection. He’d explain everything to her when he got back.

The double doors to the library opened and Kivar quickly tucked the map away in his pocket as he looked up to see Saria walking in, wearing a love-sick grin on her face. Gods, she’s pathetic, he thought to himself in annoyance. He did his best not to let his disgust for the naïve little twit show as he smiled at her, leaning back in his chair. “Hello, my dear.”

“Kivar, where have you been?” she asked as sat down on the edge of the desk. “I feel like I’ve hardly seen you the last few days.”

“Apologies,” he replied, pulling away when he noticed her leaning forward to kiss him. “I’ve just been busy.” Without looking at her, he stood from his chair and grabbed the jacket that had been draped over the back.

Saria’s smile faded as Kivar pulled away from her touch. She noticed he did that a lot. “Are you sure that’s all it is?” She asked. “Our wedding is two weeks away and you’ve barely acknowledged my presence.”

Kivar was silent for a long moment and Saria worried that she had angered him. Normally Saria wasn’t one to voice her opinion like that. It wasn’t he way. Her parents had always taught her that a good wife never burdened her husband with her feelings. Her job was to be an obedient wife. Her parents would be ashamed to see her allowing her silly hurt feelings to get the best of her.

Internally, she started berating herself for her misstep and prepared to apologize, but she was surprised when Kivar turned around and looked almost remorseful.

But, unbeknownst to her, it wasn’t remorse he was feeling as stared at her. It was pity. Seeing the hurt and longing in her eyes, how could he not pity her. The little twit was falling for him. Just then the library doors opened, and Nikolai came strolling into the room.

He paused when he noticed Saria standing with Kivar. “Apologies. Do you two need a moment?”

“No, it’s fine,” Kivar shook his head before turning back to Saria. “There are some things I need to discuss with the General. But we’ll talk more about this later.”

Saria’s face fell, but she nodded her head in compliance. “Of course.”

She left and Nikolai turned his attention to Kivar who was still staring at the library doors, an unreadable expression on his face. His gaze turned to Nikolai. “Is everything ready?”

Nikolai nodded. “We leave tomorrow night.”

“Not we. Me.” Nikolai cocked his head, giving Kivar a confused expression. “I need you to stay here.”

“With all due respect, your highness, I don’t think that’s a wise decision,” Nikolai said. “You’ll need protection while you’re down on earth.”

“I’ll have it,” Kivar replied. “The guards we picked to accompany us are loyal to me. They’ll keep me safe.”

Nikolai felt himself growing annoyed as he stared at Kivar, but he managed to keep his tone neutral. “Is there a reason why you want me to stay?”

Kivar’s gaze went to the doors that Saria had exited through, an idea forming in his mind about how to deal with his impending marriage. He turned to Nikolai, a cold look in his eyes. “I need you to take care of a problem for me.”