Kalila - AU CC MATURE/ADULT [COMPLETE]

Finished stories set in an alternate universe to that introduced in the show, or which alter events from the show significantly, but which include the Roswell characters. Aliens play a role in these fics. All complete stories on the main AU with Aliens board will eventually be moved here.

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dreamangel
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Post by dreamangel » Sat Apr 19, 2003 5:36 pm

KALILA 19

She clutched the sheets tighter to her body as muffled swearing was heard. Then she relaxed as she recognized the husky voice and the black head poking out from the tapestry.

Zan fumbled some more with the heavy fabric before finally freeing himself and spinning around to face her. By this time she was jumping off the end of the bed and running to him.

“ZAN!”

He made an “Oompf!”ing noise as she flew up against him. She would have giggled, but she was too busy kissing him.

“Zan, Zan, Zan, Zanzanzanzan,” she chanted between kisses. He caught her lips firmly, his tongue searching every recess of her mouth. Eros! It felt like it had been an eternity! She wrapped her legs around his waist and allowed him to carry her over to her bed.

He never released her, he followed her down onto the bed, kissing, kissing, hands caressing every inch…Her brain was fogging up, completely absorbed in the sensations he was creating within her.

Sensations she never thought she’d feel again.

Abruptly the dense fog started to dissipate. “Zan,” she gasped, trying to sit up while pushing him away, “Zan, stop. We have to stop.”

“Why?” he asked plaintively, but he complied with her wishes. He didn’t, however, let her go. He held onto her hand as if she would disappear if he let go.

“Zan…” she looked away, trying hard to work up the courage to ask… “Did…Did you? I mean, with…” She shook her head, it was coming out all wrong, but she just couldn’t seem to find a way to make it right. Kalila watched him out of the corner of her eye, seeing the confused look on his face, feeling his hand tighten on hers as his eyes widened in sudden understanding to what she hadn’t been able to say.

“No! No never!” he grasped her chin, forcing her to look in his eyes, eyes that reassured her more than words, “I never touched her. I will never touch her. I promise, Kali. I promise on our love for each other, that you are my one, true wife,” he grinned, “The only woman with which I will ever perform my husbandly duties.”

She smiled in spite of herself and threw her arms around him. She still couldn’t believe these ridiculous fears of hers. She wasn’t normally this insecure…But she was gaining weight, and she really wasn’t that pretty…And Ava was almost perfect, her attitude left a lot to be desired, and then there was the small fact that she had stolen Kalila’s husband…Pushing those thoughts away, she concentrated on Zan, giving him a radiant smile.

“Where were we?” she asked innocently.

His grin turned devilish, and he leaned her back down, settling himself between her thighs. “Right here, beloved,” he murmured, lips brushing against hers, “I believe we were right here.”
*~*~*

He had nearly fainted when first he saw her. She was wearing one of those harem outfits she had kept from years before, something that he had never complained about. They gave him plenty of chances to touch her soft skin, and then recently, she hadn’t been wearing anything at all to bed, so it really didn’t surprise him that he had never seen this particular one before.

But Eros, he wished he had.

The whole, or really half, thing was a pale, pale silky green. Barely covered everything that needed to be covered, ending approximately an inch below her nicely rounded bottom, providing easy access. Thin straps held it up, two on each side. One over both shoulders, and the other falling off of them…Leading to a low cut, very tantalizing neckline.

He groaned and frantically started to help her undress him. Finally removing himself from the dress pants and shirt, being that he had never changed after the reception, he slid deeply into her welcoming heat.

She gasped her pleasure as he began thrusting smoothly into her core, slowly inching her sleepwear over her head. She fell, arching back against the pillows as he continued stroking her womanhood, and began feasting on her sweet breasts. Moving upward, he once again captured her puffy lips, replacing his mouth with hands.

Surprisingly, it felt as if her breasts were fuller, fitting more firmly into his palms... He contemplated the meaning of the development, never slacking in his penetration of her. He believed he almost had grasped the significance, something Rath had said about Ria months ago that he hadn’t wanted to hear, but he lost it immediately as her satin walls clamped down on him and she screamed his name.

His absolute possession of her was what triggered his own release. The feel of her body shivering beneath him, the knowledge that he was the only man to ever have her…made him feel more of a man than any duty his father bestowed upon him, more than being a hero of war, more than anything.

“Kali…” Saying her name was a reflex in him, it was an automatic inquiry to what she was feeling, even as he was drifting into slumber. She didn’t say a word, as she was already asleep, but she cuddled closer, and he could feel her smile against his chest.

He woke up hours later, just as the first sun was peeking over the horizon. He gazed down at his love, memorizing the adorable way she looked all ruffled with sleep, and adding the picture to his ever-increasing collection of Kalila memories.

Then he sighed, remembering with distaste that he had to leave her. Reaching over, careful not to disturb his sleeping beauty, he grabbed his clothes from the day before and carefully put them on. He froze when she moaned a bit and turned over, frowning slightly. Then realized with relief that she wasn’t waking up just yet.

Zan didn’t want to see her face when he left their new bedchamber to go to Ava.

He was already dying inside. Slipping lightly out of bed, he kissed her forehead, then brushed lightly over her lips. “I love you, Kalila,” he whispered.

“Zan.” Her murmured call stopped him in his tracks, and he turned to see her tossing slightly until she had wriggled over to his side of the bed, relaxing instantly as his scent washed over her.

He wanted nothing more at that moment than to climb back into that bed and hold her forever, screwing his father over in the process. But he couldn’t, so he regretfully finished his ascent into the secret passage.

He was Crown Prince of Antar, as he had often been reminded, and duty to his planet came before all else.

Even before duty to his heart.
*~*~*

He listened carefully, patiently, as his Emperor explained his plans. He let no expression show on his face, neither a frown nor a smile.

To tell the truth, he wasn’t completely sure which he wanted to do. The fact that this whole plan revolved around Kivar’s obsession with the girl, Kalila, made him uneasy. Especially since Zan was equally, if not more, obsessed with her.

He wanted to smile because if everything went off without a hitch, the Paerhnians would soon hold all of Antar instead of the small, unprofitable, desert land they now roamed. Plus, it would allow him to continue his liaison with the lovely Princess Vilandra.

True, she was naïve and easily lured into compromising situations in which she revealed top secret information, but that was just part of her charm. Her trusting nature and closeness to her irritating father, had proved quite valuable to Kivar’s cause, unwittingly given or not. And the new feud between her and Zan was prompting her to take him deeper into her confidence.

And, of course, one couldn’t forget what a wild lover she made.

He chuckled lightly as he headed toward Tynan’s war room, where the king was found more and more often.

Time to put this plan into action.
*~*~*

“I don’t believe I understand, Ambassador?”

“It’s quite simple, your Majesty, Kivar wishes to…reacquire, I think the word would be, his former wife.” The young man smiled coldly at Tynan and the king suddenly felt very unsure.

“He wants that whore back?” he asked incredulously.

Niko coughed. “I do not believe my Emperor would wish his beloved to be addressed in such a fashion, King Tynan.” He inclined his head toward Tynan, smile fading a bit.

“Uh…Of course not,” he paused, not understanding why the little slut had captivated so many powerful men. She had both Kivar and Zan wrapped around her finger, the Commander was fond of her, and now both Larak and Sero were barely being civil to him, an obvious aftereffect of Zan’s marriage to Ava.

A thought popped up unexpectedly. “Would I get to keep my Gems?”

Niko looked surprised, then he gave an empty sort of laugh. “For some reason, I don’t believe Kivar wants the horses, he has thousands. He just wants Kalila back in Paerhna. That’s all, your Majesty.”

Kalila, that was her name. He kept forgetting. “Why should I have her returned to Kivar? My son is incredibly fond of…Kalila.”

“No doubt. She is very pretty. But Zan is now married to the Princess Ava, she will be the one to bear the future heirs of Antar. Kalila is of no use to either Zan or yourself, she is of use to Kivar.”

“What use?” he asked sharply.

“Quite simply put, your Majesty, he’s in love with her,” he demurred quietly, “I understand you’d have some reservations, I mean, she’s been here what? Three years or so, and no doubt most of the palace as well as the city adores her. I mean, I know whenever I went to market, the talk was nothing but how kind and thoughtful Princess Kalila was, what a good queen she’d make…But she was quite happy in the harem, and well-loved by all she met all over Paerhna, in every province, and Kivar wishes for her to come back to that peaceful life as his wife. She’ll be guaranteed the best of everything, you’ll never have to worry about her well being. My word, as well as Kivar’s, on that.”

Tynan studied his serious face carefully before responding. “As much as I’d like to see the girl out of Antar and away from Zan, I have promised my son that she could stay in the palace. And I have broken too many promises to him lately to break another. I’m sorry, but Kalila will be staying here,” he finished firmly.

Astoundingly enough, Niko did not seem the least bit perturbed by his answer. In fact, it seemed as if he was smiling slightly.

“I see, I’m sorry you feel that way. But in any case, Kivar expected just such a reaction and planned for it accordingly. If you’ll send for Prince Zan, I believe I have something that may change your mind.”

Tynan stared, slightly unbalanced at the turn in the discussion, and wondered what he had just gotten into.
*~*~*

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Post by dreamangel » Sat Apr 19, 2003 5:37 pm

KALILA 20

Lexus quickly harnessed his assigned Gem, luckily accomplishing it without too much contact with the beast. It’s not like he didn’t like horses, they just sort of scared him, in that big, able-to-trample-you-flat kinda way.

He sighed, trying not to wince as he flung himself into the saddle, and spurred the color-shifting horse into a light canter.

If he had just been able to apply to the Fine Arts Academy, he could be a bard now. But his father had put his foot down, saying that no son of his was going to end up a lily-livered string plucker trying to earn a living in a hovel of an inn.

So Lexus had enrolled in the Military Academy and now served as a Palace Guard under Lieutenant Kayl. And now he was on a very important mission to locate Prince Zan, wherever he was in the city, and bring him back to the palace.

To think, he could be composing music, but no, he had to look for the errant young man so that his father could give him another lecture. Probably. There really was no other reason for Tynan to want to see Zan, and everyone knew about their infamous “talks”…

Suck it up, Lex, he told himself, you signed on for this. Boredom and all.

He surveyed the multitude of people in the marketplace and groaned inwardly. This was going to take forever.
*~*~*

She practically ran down the hall in the Royal Quarters, trying desperately not to look at her old chambers. She was almost past, and just starting to breathe easier, when an annoying voice stopped her.

“You there!” She stopped dead in her tracks and turned to face Princess Ava, who was peeking that bright blond head of hers out the door of Kalila and Zan’s rooms. “It’s Kalila, correct?”

“Yes, your Highness,” she whispered, keeping her eyes down and curtseying deeply. She gritted her teeth against a sharp response, knowing that it was not befitting in her present station as companion.

“What are you doing in this section of the palace?” she asked curiously, looking down her nose at the girl.

Kalila straightened, still focused on the floor. “I was visiting with Moth- the Queen,” she amended quickly. She peered up from between her lashes, hoping the Princess didn’t catch the slip. She kept forgetting that Ariann was no longer her mother.

“Well, I’m assuming you’re finished, so come along and help me with my hair.” She disappeared back into the room without waiting for Kalila’s assent.

“Yes, Highness,” she muttered.

She hesitated as she stepped through the door and into the sitting area. She closed her eyes and let the memories flood over her. She remembered the time, before Zan had made love to her, when he had run into this room while she was reading and scooped her off the sofa, twirling her around until she was dizzy, and then informed her that he was taking her with him to Dagon.

She had been thrilled. It was her second most cherished dream to see the universe, and he was giving it to her. Her first dream was, of course, that Zan would fall in love with her.

He had made all her dreams come true.

She recalled another time, one only a week or so before, when the quiet evening alone had turned into a passionate night of ecstasy on the couch…and the chair, and the rug…

“Are you coming?” Kalila winced as the voice pierced through her memories. Ava was grating on her nerves.

“Yes, Highness,” she replied automatically. She walked forward, her steps unsteady, the bedchamber door looming…Taking a deep breath she stepped in the room.

Everything was the same. She saw no evidence that Ava was even living here except the woman’s presence in the room. Which was easily ignored. She allowed her eyes to scan the room, flashes flooded her, filling her, and she felt the corners of her mouth turn up a bit.

“Ahem!” She spun, turning her attention to Ava, who was tapping her foot impatiently. “I realize that this amount of wealth may astound you, but please do not drool on my carpet.”

Kalila had to bite her tongue down on another sharp retort. She tilted her head forward so that her flashing eyes were hidden from view. “Yes, Highness.”

Ava moved, and sat herself down at the vanity, watching Kalila through the mirror. Kalila followed her over and picked up the brush Ava handed her. Silently she began to brush.

She began to start styling, twisting and coiling the Princess’ blond hair around her head. Suddenly, Ava spun, ruining her work, and studied Kalila through narrowed eyes.

“Is something wrong Princess?” she asked, trembling.

“Are you pregnant?”

Kalila, surprised by the question, looked straight into Ava’s eyes. “No!” she told her vehemently. What a thing to ask!

“Are you quite positive?” she pressed.

“Quite,” Kalila responded frostily.

“All right then. I was just wondering, because you’re fat and very shiny. I was just thinking of a reason for it.”

“Well it’s the wrong reason,” she said firmly. But she couldn’t help wondering. She had known she was putting on weight, but she figured it was stress, not a baby. She stood, wide-eyed at the thought, clutching the hairbrush to her chest. If only…If only she really was pregnant! She could practically see a miniature Zan running around, looking adorable and…

“Are you going to finish or not?” Ava demanded. She was frowning at Kalila from the mirror. She snapped back to attention and began reworking the woman’s hair.

She was developing a strong dislike for the Princess Ava.
*~*~*

She sighed despondently, the girl was taking an extraordinarily long time to do her hair, and she was getting bored. She looked into the mirror, noting the complimentary style the girl was putting her hair up in. She was obviously very good at what she did, but Ava still didn’t like her.

Maybe it was the way she had denied being pregnant. It was so obvious. Anyone looking at her would know instantly, the glow surrounding her…

But she was what, like fifteen, sixteen? And a very controversial noble, her status would drop once word got out that she was caring a servant’s child. She wondered what servant would dare actually. It was an unbelievable situation.

She was about to comment again when Zan strode into the room. He took no notice of her, instead going straight to the closet. She pouted and waited, unmoving, for him to come out. The girl had started to hurriedly finish her job, obviously not wishing to be in the Prince’s presence.

“Finished, Highness,” she spoke quickly, stepping away, “May I take my leave?”

“Of- Zan!” She stopped talking to the little girl and focused on her husband. He froze at her reprimand, but he was looking at the brunette and not her. “Zan,” she said again.

“Huh? What?” he asked, finally looking at her. Ava glanced back at the girl and then at Zan, noticing the adoring look in her big brown eyes. She smirked.

The child was in love with the Crown Prince.

This was priceless. Ava wondered if she had been imagining Zan when she was sleeping with her lover. If she was pretending the child was Zan’s. The whole thing was completely laughable.

But then she saw that Zan was returning her stares, and she realized that the girl was really very pretty, and that her being around Zan was not a good idea when Ava hadn’t staked her claim yet.

“You may go,” she dismissed snappily.

The girl’s line of sight moved to the floor and she curtseyed. “Yes, Highness. Good day, Prince Zan.”

The way she said his name…Ava wanted to throw something. She had practically sighed it, as if his name was too holy to say aloud. Eros! Ava decided then and there that that girl was never going to be in the same room as Zan ever again!

“Zan?” She moved to him, wrapping her arms around his waist. He snapped out of his staring contest with the door.

“What?” He stepped away, out of her embrace.

She ignored it. “Where have you been?”

“The market,” he said absently, “And now my father has summoned my presence in his war room.” He seemed to hesitate. “But first…Ava, I must speak with you.”

“What about?” She watched him curiously. He seemed to find the floor fascinating. “Zan?”

He sighed and finally looked at her, and suddenly she didn’t want to hear what he had to say. “Ava…I…I can’t be, the husband you need me to be.”

“Why not?”

“You know last night, when you thought I was ill?”

“Yes.” She remembered waking up with concern when she discovered he wasn’t in bed with her, remembered her relief when she spotted him sitting in the window seat, staring at the second sun as it rose. “You said you were fine,” she was now alarmed, “You said nothing was wrong.”

“I know, but I lied. Sort of. I wasn’t ill, Ava, I just felt…physically sick. I couldn’t get into that bed with you, knowing what you were expecting to happen. I just couldn’t do it. I felt like a traitor, and it just manifested itself…I don’t know how else to explain it.” He looked at her helplessly.

“Why would you feel that way?” she asked cautiously, not sure where he was headed.

“Because I’m in love with someone else.”

Not the direction she wanted to go. She felt her heart beginning to break. “What?”

“Look, I don’t know what anyone’s told you. I don’t even know what my father said when he arranged this whole…thing. All I know is that two weeks ago I was told that I was going to be separated from my wife and married to you. I fought against my father about this. It wasn’t fair to you. It wasn’t fair to me, and it most certainly wasn’t fair to my Kali, but I wasn’t giving a choice in the matter.”

Wife. She thought dully. He had a wife before me. One he loved. He doesn’t love me. She was going to cry. She was really, really going to cry. “Why?” she croaked.

“I’m a Crown Prince. My first duty,” he said bitterly, “is to my planet. You understand that, Ava. I’m sure your mother drilled it into you as my father did to me.”

She nodded, not trusting herself to speak.

He sighed, running a hand through his hair. “So I agreed. But I still love her, Ava. Can you understand that as well? Can you understand that I’m not going to be able to love you like a husband should? Can you understand that she’s going to be my only one for all eternity?”

This time she shook her head. “I love you.”

“No you don’t”

“Yes. Yes I do. I do."

“No. Ava you don’t even know me. You don’t know what I like, you don’t know what I dislike…You don’t know who I am, you don’t know Zan. So you can’t be in love with me.”

“But I am. I fell in love with you the first time I saw you Zan,” she told him, “and I can learn. I can learn everything-” A finger to her lips cut her off, and she looked up at him, pleading with tear-filled eyes. His expression was inscrutable.

“What did you first think when you saw me?” he asked finally.

She blinked, not expecting the question. “I thought you were the most handsome man I’d ever met in my life,” she stated.

He smiled ruefully and shook his head. “Thank you. But that’s not love Ava, that’s attraction.”

“How do you know? How do you know what you feel for this Kali isn’t just attraction? How do you know it’s not just some wild affair and that you won’t fall out of love with her in a year or two?” she demanded.

“She’s my soulmate,” he said simply, as if that explained it all, when he saw her confusion though he continued, “I’ll admit, it started out as attraction. I glanced at her once, and then again, and then I couldn’t stop looking at her, hard as I tried, and I did try. But she was so beautiful…” His smile turned dreamy, his eyes warmed, turning into liquid honey, “And then our eyes met, and it was just…Everything. I could see into her soul, she could see into mine…And I knew it was forever right then and there. I knew that no matter what, she was it for me. She held my heart and soul in her hands, just as I held hers…”

A knock at the door interrupted his speech, and the slow deterioration of her dreams. She looked with bleak eyes as a blue-eyed, dark-haired man in a Palace Guard uniform entered the room humbly. “Um, Prince Zan, you father is getting impatient…”

“Of course, Lexus, one moment.” He turned to her, bent down, and lightly kissed her cheek, but the thrill was gone. “I’m sorry, Ava” he whispered. Her eyes met his, and she saw the honest regret in his eyes. She nodded.

“Me, too.” He backed away from her, then spun and followed the guard. Ava watched him disappear and then she flung her self onto the bed.

She cried. She cried as hard as she could. Cried for what never happened, for what could have been, for herself, for Zan, and even for this Kali that he loved so much.

She cried until she could cry no more, and all that was left was an emptiness in her that wasn’t filled. An emptiness she now admitted that Zan hadn’t filled, as much as she had been certain her would. And now she had to face what she really desired, and it wasn’t a loveless marriage.

She wanted to find her soulmate.
*~*~*

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Post by dreamangel » Sun Apr 20, 2003 4:34 pm

KALILA 21

Zan followed Lexus quietly, contemplating his talk with Ava. He felt bad about hurting her. She was just as much a victim as he and Kalila, and had just had some harsh reality thrown in her face.

But he couldn’t have let her continue fooling herself. He couldn’t let her believe she was in love with him and he with her. That he would be the perfect husband. It wouldn’t be fair. And now that she was aware of his feelings, she could forge ahead and find her real beloved.

Zan nodded absently, not paying any attention to his surroundings. Therefore, when he found himself walking into a wall, he should not have been surprised.

“Prince Zan are you all right?” his guard asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Yes, yes I’m fine.” He frowned at the wall. “I just didn’t see the wall.”

“R-right. Because it wasn’t there before. I bet they just built it this morning.” Zan looked at the older man sharply, surprised to see his serious face. He narrowed his eyes. Finally, the blue eyes began to twinkle and Lexus burst out laughing.

“Guardian Lexus, I merely meant I wasn’t paying attention to where I was walking.”

“I realize that, your Highness, I was just trying to lighten things up. Really man, you look like the fates of the worlds are resting on your shoulders.”

Zan smiled ruefully, “It sometimes feels that way, Lexus.”

“It’s Lex.” He shrugged and turned to continue onwards. Zan paused for a moment before following. The man’s humorous attitude was a welcome change from court formality. Normally the only non-related people who treated him with a level of familiarity were Rath, Ria, and Larak.

He decided he liked Lex. “To my friends I am just Zan.”

The guard stopped and swung to look him in his eyes. “We just met, how can you consider me your friend already?”

“I have a feeling you would make a good one.”

“Oh. Well, then thanks, Zan.”

“You’re welcome Lex.” They smiled at one another and finished the rest of the journey in a companionable silence.
*~*~*

Tynan kept his eyes on Niko. The younger man was someone to be on guard with. He seemed to glance about him with a speculating gleam in his eyes, as if weighing each object in the room and determining its price. Very disconcerting.

“My King? Crown Prince Zan has arrived.” He waved the servant away as Zan entered. Taking his gaze from Niko’s, he turned to his son, who was glaring suspiciously at the Paerhnian.

Well at least he wasn’t a failure at everything.

“You wanted to see me father?”

“Actually, Niko and I were discussing a proposition of Kivar’s. I naturally refused on your behalf, but the Ambassador wanted you here in person. I had to comply.”

“What proposition?” Zan’s attention was now on the shorter man, who was smiling smugly.

“Kivar merely wishes Kalila returned,” he stated amiably.

Tynan watched as his son’s expression went from suspicious to unbelieving to murderous in a matter of seconds. He belatedly recalled the sword he had been forced to point at his son’s throat only a few weeks ago, and he realized that no one was going to be able to fully take that girl away from Zan without a show of massive strength and brute force.

“I thought as much,” Zan snarled, “Well you can tell him the answer is NO. There is no way in the vastness of the universe that I will ever give Kalila to that manipulative, rebellious, disgusting son of a bitch!”

A brief flicker of emotion, anger, flashed across Niko’s face, but it was gone in a second. Hidden again behind the cool, detached smile he always wore. “Kivar suspected you would refuse and gave me leave to offer his ultimatum.”

“Ultimatum?” Tynan repeated anxiously. This had not been mentioned before.
*~*~*

Zan ignored his father’s predictable reaction. The man was a coward. “What is it?” he bit out. There was nothing Kivar could do to make him give back his Kali. Not one damn thing.

“It’s fairly simple. You give him Kalila or we declare war.”

“WHAT?!” his father exploded. “That’s…That’s ridiculous. You can’t wage war over a WOMAN! It’s inconceivable! He’s not being serious.”

“Oh I assure you, my Emperor is quite serious, King Tynan. He’s not one to joke.”

“But…but…Not over a woman. And this woman…The whole thing is ludicrous. It’s impossible I tell you, impossible…” He continued to babble, muttering incoherently, not even noticing that neither Prince nor Ambassador was paying any attention to him.

Zan stared defiantly into Niko’s eyes. He knew what this was about. It was a power play. Kivar wanted to show Zan that he had the power and therefore he would have Kalila. Not happening, Kivar, he thought, not while I’m alive and breathing.

He knew how Kivar’s mind was working on this. He knew the Paerhnian knew this would go one of two ways. Number one: Zan relinquished Kali to Kivar and Kivar won. Number two: Zan refused and Kivar won anyway.

He also knew Kivar was expecting him to accept the deal. He figured Zan would be a good little boy and meekly submit to whatever demand was made for the good of the planet. Just as he had with the Ava situation. Well not this time.

Kali was his.

“No.”

The commotion Tynan was making suddenly ceased. He stared at his son, almost gaping in horror. “Zan-“

“Very well.” Niko stood calmly. “I shall inform the Emperor of you response.” He bowed stiffly and walked out, ignoring the king’s protests.

As the door shut behind him, Tynan finally burst out. “What were you thinking?! Now we’ll be at war! Kivar will go through with it, you know he will, he never backs down from a challenge. Why? Why, Zan, for a woman!”

“Don’t be naïve, Father,” he said, not deigning to face the King, “this isn’t just about Kali. He just wanted an excuse to start the fighting. He’d find a way to make war anyway. I’d just like to stop procrastinating and get it over with. The wait is getting boring.”

“Are you mad.”

“Quite possibly,” he said quietly as he exited. His life was falling apart, it was definitely a possibility.
*~*~*

Kalila hugged him close to her as he slept. This was her only time with him now, these midnight meetings.

He had been so intent upon her tonight. So passionate and demanding, and yet tender and giving. He was upset over whatever had happened with his father. He always made love to her in such a fashion after a talk with his father. It had always seemed to her that he was trying to prove his possession of her. She didn’t know why he needed to.

She was his. Heart, mind, body, and soul. His and his alone.

Her hand ran through his jet-black hair, she smiled gently. She had not been able to relay her suspicions of a child tonight. He had been so…focused. So completely absorbed in making love to her, that he wouldn’t have been able to pay proper attention to her words, so she didn’t say anything.

She wasn’t sure yet. She had to make an appointment with a healer, then she’d know for sure. But she had a feeling it was true.

So much could be explained by a pregnancy. Her over-emotional state, the weight increase, her breasts getting larger, the fact that she missed her last monthly cycle…And, Ava obnoxious questioning.

She wondered if Zan had told Ava about her and that was why she was so rude, but then decided she didn’t want to know. Kalila snuggled down next to her husband.

She just wanted to be with Zan.
*~*~*

He read the three letters over again. Niko’s was a fantastically funny, and detailed, report of his meeting with the Antarian leaders. The second was Tynan apologizing profusely for his son and a request for him not to take offense. And then there was the third.

It had provided him with vast amounts of amusement. Zan’s refusal was quite clear. It was also quite vulgar. He chuckled, enjoying the anticipation of the soon-to-be-kill. Of course, the boy’s stubbornness would force him to adjust his plans slightly.

Originally he had planned to gain Kalila and then find another reason to declare war. But now…Now he could use Zan as a scapegoat. That was a plus, but he still needed to get Kalila.

Making a decision he stood and began to walk to the small technological wing of his palace. He would make one more, persuasive, offer to the princeling. Just to see if he couldn’t convince Zan to unintentionally give him both of the things he wanted. He pulled the thick curtain back, revealing the entrance to the computer lab.

A hologram might make a more effective means of meeting his goals.
*~*~*

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Post by dreamangel » Sun Apr 20, 2003 4:35 pm

KALILA 22

The message ended, leaving the audience with an extended view of Kivar’s self-satisfied smirk. Niko strode leisurely to the holo-device and turned it off, then looked each of the silent people in the eye. Ava realized he was judging their reactions, and finding them exactly as he had been expecting.

She, herself, was apathetic. True, she found the idea of a war fought over a lowly born girl was rubbish, but the demands would be met, and peace would reign. She glanced across the room, taking in the way the brunette was staring at the floor, one hand placed protectively on her stomach.

A sudden thought occurred to the Princess. What if she had been wrong and the child was not a servant’s, but Kivar’s? That would explain everything, the sudden need to have her returned. Kivar had discovered that the girl he had dallied with was pregnant with his heir and now he wanted her in Paerhna!

Ava couldn’t say she’d miss her. Well, perhaps just a bit. After all, she thought as she patted her hair, the girl was more than capable of doing her job as companion. But companions were easily replaced.

“The answer is still no.” Ava looked in surprise to her husband as he pushed himself up from against the wall. His eyes were iced over, expression angry, mouth drawn in a tight line, and body rigid. She was surprised at the attitude, surely he would see the necessity in granting Kivar’s request.

“Absolutely,” Ariann agreed, “The suggestion is utter nonsense. Kalila belongs here in Antar.” Now Ava whipped her head to look at the Queen, even more taken aback. Zan’s refusal she understood, he would want to spite Kivar in whichever way presented itself, but her Majesty?

“Are the two of you mad?” Tynan demanded, “This is a matter of war! We must hand her over!”

“Quite right, I agree with Father,” Vilandra put in.

“Thank you, my dear,” he said, smiling at her.

Zan mumbled something, which sounded to Ava a bit like ‘traitor’, and then all hell broke loose. Zan, Ariann, Lady Ria, and Commander Rath against Tynan and Vilandra in a verbal dispute over the issue. She just sat, slightly stunned at the venom of argument. Niko, she saw, was still watching, obviously amused, and Kalila was frowning slightly, her eyes darting over the players in the drama before her.

“STOP!”
*~*~*

The commotion came to a complete halt. All eyes turned to her, and she stood gracefully. Turning to Niko, she inclined her head, and, as calmly as she could, spoke to him.

“Tell Kivar I will come.” The silence abruptly turned back into a deafening noise, but one voice came out crystal clear.

“No.” And suddenly he was there before her, amber eyes staring into her soul. “No, Kali,” he whispered, voice hoarse. His large, loving hands cupped her face, bringing her forehead to rest against his. She could feel him shaking his head, even with her eyes closed, his denial to her response showing with every move he made.

“I have to, Zan,” she told him softly. Not that it would matter, the whole room was trained on their private conversation, but the situation seemed to call for quiet.

“No, no you don’t. You’ve already done enough…given up enough. You don’t have to do this. We don’t.”

She smiled bravely up at him, almost blinded by tears. “But I do. We can’t be selfish Zan, this is the fate of the millions of lives here. Antar’s not completely prepared for war, if Paerhna were to attack…It would be the end of the world.”

“We’ll go to war anyway, it’s inevitable.”

“We can’t risk it. This will buy us time, maybe enough time.”

“Kali…” he trailed off, still shaking his head.

“I’m doing this, Zan.” He must have read the determination in her voice, because a defeated look came into his eyes and he nodded. He dropped his hands from her cheeks and twined them into hers, obviously not going to let go until he had to.

“Send word to Kivar that we accept his…proposition,” he said, talking to Niko, but his eyes never leaving hers.

“Thank Eros!” Tynan muttered, “It’s about time that boy showed some sense.”

Niko smiled pleasantly. “I’ll send a courier to the Emperor informing him of your decision. Lady Kalila, be prepared to leave in the morning.”

“Morning!” Ria screeched.

“Yes,” he said impassively, “Kivar anticipated your answer, he knows his former wife’s moral obligations quite well and knew she would agree to return to her homeland.”

“So why the courier?” Rath inquired.

“His Imperial Majesty wished to have suitable time to prepare for his beloved’s arrival.” Kalila felt Zan tense and squeezed his hand in assurance. Her heart belonged only to him. He knew that, so why the jealousy?

“Ria and I will take care of the packing, little one,” Ariann said gently, “You and Zan go.” She gestured to the door and Zan took off immediately, dragging her along. She sent the mother of her heart a grateful smile before following her lover out.
*~*~*

She sat, still fully dressed, on the bed, the puzzle pieces finally coming together. Kalila, Kali, it was a short name. So simple, and yet she hadn’t even suspected…She had been pitying the poor girl for falling in love with the Prince, and he had fallen right back. It explained the looks just those few days past right here in this room.

The day her happy illusions of love were destroyed. Ava shivered in remembrance. He was with her now, hadn’t been apart from her since they left that meeting. She was jealous.

Jealous of their love.

Zan may not have been her soulmate, but he was her husband, and he should be in his bedchamber at this very minute, fulfilling his husbandly duties, but he wasn’t. He was with her, a girl not worthy, and he was probably making love to her as if she was still his wife. As if she was the mother of his heirs. As if-

Oh Eros! The child! It was Zan’s!

Kalila was pregnant with Zan’s child! She felt her heart nearly shudder to a stop and then start going at an accelerated speed. He couldn’t know, she must not have told him. He wouldn’t allow her to leave if he knew, Tynan probably wouldn’t even let her leave if she were carrying the next Crown Prince of Antar.

Well, Ava certainly wouldn’t be the one to tell. Spite and overall dislike of the small girl, who was barely out of childhood herself, would keep her quiet. Jealousy was a very powerful, very dangerous, emotion.
*~*~*

Zan held his Kali closer, feeling that if he kept her close enough, then she wouldn’t be able to go. It was an irrational thought, but he couldn’t help it. This wasn’t another room in the same palace, it was another part of the planet. His grip tightened even more.

He was probably leaving bruises on her skin, but she didn’t tell him to loosen his hold, and he wasn’t willing to release her yet. He’d never be willing.

He made a decision then and there: this arrangement would not be a permanent situation. It would be temporary, very, very temporary. Kivar was NOT going to get a chance to hurt her again.

“He’s not going to win this,” he said abruptly, fiercely, “He’s not going to take you.”

“No.” Her response was slightly muffled, but then she lifted her head from where it was buried in his chest, staring at him deeply with those dark eyes. “I’m yours, Zan, only yours. For beyond eternity.”

His answer was in the form of a crushing kiss. How many times had they promised this? And it still held true.

They belonged to each other.
*~*~*

She watched him sleep, playing with the black hair hanging on his forehead. He looked like a little boy, so, so innocent. Her hand went unconsciously to her stomach. Wondering at the tiny, precious life inside.

She hadn’t had a chance to visit the healers to know for sure, but instinct, as well as comments, led her to believe it was true. She was pregnant with Zan’s child.

And he would never know.

She hadn’t told him. She had planned to do it tonight, but then that hologram had come and everything was ruined. Now she could never tell him. He would make her stay, and she couldn’t put Antar in jeopardy like that. This whole thing was so much bigger than the two, well, three, of them.

She kissed his forehead tenderly. “I’ll make sure he knows you, Zan. I’ll make sure he knows you love him. And you remember that we both love you. Always.”
*~*~*

Cora waited patiently to be introduced, glancing around occasionally. This Antar was a strange place, there was too much greenery, but lots of new people. She loved new people, they were so interesting, of course, she was a social butterfly and was always making new friends. She wondered who she’d meet here.

They dark-haired couple the emissary was addressing must be Kalila and Zan. They had to be. There was no reason to be that sad otherwise. She took note of the other people gathered around before her eyes landed on a powerful-looking man.

He had brown eyes and spiky hair and great muscles. Her body warmed just thinking about him. The experience was another something new. She had never been attracted to a man before, and never had any…interludes. Kivar seemed to show no interest in his wives, so she had never known even his touch, but she knew what she was feeling now.

A footman was suddenly extending his hand to help her down off the borrowed Gem Horse. She hadn’t bothered getting attached, she couldn’t keep it, and Kalila would be riding it back to Paerhna for her. The introductions went quickly. She was obviously a surprise to the Antarians, but they handled it well and welcomed her graciously enough.

She watched as they said good-byes, peering at the Prince. Kivar had told her to keep him occupied, but it looked as though the short blond had that angle covered, so she would concentrate on the man called Rath. Cora felt herself frown as the green-eyed woman beside him passed him a small boy and ran to Kalila.

What was this?
*~*~*

Kalila hugged her best friend tightly and said good-bye.

“Be brave, little one,” Ria told her. She nodded and then gave King Tynan and Vilandra a curtsey, receiving small nods in return. She had already bid farewell to Ryley and Rath and Ariann. Now it was time for the one thing she had been dreading.

She had to say good-bye to Zan.

The kiss was passionate, renewing every vow they had made to each other. Their love was eternal, nothing could end it. This, this…what they were together, would live on forever.

She felt his breath on her ear when they separated. “I’m coming for you, Kali,” he whispered. He stepped back, eyes blazing gold, “I love you.”

“I love you,” she echoed, putting every once of love she felt for him in those three small words. Then she was swept up onto a horse and taken away at a full gallop. She craned her neck backward, ignoring the braid that was whipping into her face, and watched him until he disappeared, and then even a little longer.

Zan, her soul cried, Zan…
*~*~*

Kali…His whole being screamed her name.

His family shuffled back into the palace, all except one. He could feel the presence behind him, waiting. Zan said nothing, only kept his eyes trained on the sight his love had disappeared to.

“What happens now, Zan?” Lexus asked, finally breaking the silence. Zan’s eyes shifted toward his voice, but the rest of him never moved.

“I have to save my wife.”
*~*~*

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Post by dreamangel » Sun Apr 20, 2003 4:36 pm

KALILA 23

Zan was frustrated. Really, really frustrated. He bounced Ryley on his knee, trying to keep the drooling smile on the little boy’s face. How had he gotten roped into babysitting? He had things to do, plans to put into motion. The Paerhnians would be a day ahead of him, and that was too great an advantage.

He had to get to Kalila before Kivar.

Gravel snapped behind him and he whirled around. “Zan…” Lex trailed off. He smiled with relief and then glanced at the man beside his friend.

“This is Kayl, my commanding officer. He’s the one you want to talk to.” Zan nodded his thanks and Lex took Ryley from him and over to a patch of grass across the way. He watched as, from out of nowhere, Lexus pulled out a small flute and began to play, to the obvious delight of the baby.

“Lieutenant-“

“Kayl’s fine.” Zan narrowed his eyes, not completely trusting the man in front of him, and not sure why. He was about the same height, golden hair and blue eyes…Maybe it was the odd resemblance to Ava in coloring.

“Kayl, then,” he agreed, “This is a matter of utmost importance. I need you and Lex to be guarding the back gate tonight, it’s the only chance I have to get away undetected.”

The lieutenant started. “Highness-“

“This is a request Lieutenant, but if I have to I will make it a royal order.”

“Highness, forgive me, but if this is about the Princess and the Paerhnians…Would it not be best to comply with her wishes?”

Zan glared at him, steadfast, revealing nothing. “It is no wish of the Princess Kalila’s to go back to a monster such as Kivar.”

“Assuredly Highness, but-“

“She wished to avoid a conflict between our countries, she didn’t understand that the war would happen anyway. No one understands,” he finished to himself. Kayl winced at Zan’s scathing tone.

“I will do as you command, Highness,” he relented

Zan gave him a quirky smile. “I have commanded nothing as yet, Kayl. You may go.” The man bowed and retreated. Zan watched him leave before heading back to Lex and Ryley.
*~*~*

He played yet another little ditty on the flute, watching the boy clap his chubby hands together, his green eyes sparkling and laughing. He continued playing even as the Prince sat. He looked at Zan, who seemed impatient and hassled. He needed a little cheering up himself.

Lexus stopped playing and began singing, just one of those sweet little love songs that so many bards had wrote for the royal couple. He was officially singing to Ryley, but the song was primarily directed to Zan.

He tapered off, letting the last note linger in the rapidly cooling air. He glanced again at Zan, who was now lying down, eyes closed, a slight smile playing about his lips. He was content, at least for a moment.

His mind flashed back to another time he had comforted another royal child in this garden. He could see the dirt-smudged face and tearful brown eyes again, blond hair straggling into a rosy face as she divested herself of her troubles to a ten-year-old boy she had just met. Lonnie, she had told him to call her. Lonnie…

The Prince gave a long, drawn out sigh and sat back up, emotions masked as he picked up his honorary nephew. “Thank you for your help, Lex,” he said softly.

Lex looked at the other man. “The people will fight for her,” he stated, staring at the setting suns. Then he squinted at Zan.

The guarded mask was still in place. “I know,” he responded cryptically, “And they will, more than likely, still get the chance. But this will preserve their lives for a bit more time.”

“And very likely endanger yours,” he interrupted. Zan gave him a rueful grin, propping the tired baby up against his shoulder.

“It is worth it. My Kali is worth everything.”

He studied the younger man closely in the twilight, then finally nodded in acquiescence. “Then it is my pleasure to serve you in this mission, my friend.”

“Thank you again, Lex,” Zan repeated unnecessarily. They gripped hands for a minute. “I will see you later, but for now…” He trailed off, turning his attention to a sleeping Ryley. “Now I must return the small commander to his parents, whether they be willing to take him or not!”

They shared a laugh, both knowing exactly what the parents had got up to with a child-free night.
*~*~*

Ria rolled off her husband, sleepily satisfied. He grunted a bit and pulled her back into his arms, unwilling to let her go.

She knew what had prompted this uninhibited day of pleasure. It was a natural reaction on both their parts to reassure each other of their love. The way that Cora girl had been staring at him, and after Kalila had been taken away from Zan…

Was it selfish that they were so happy to just be together?

Ria suddenly realized how unfeeling it was to have just foisted her son off on Zan to spend the day with Rath. He had lost Kalila this day, lost his love, and to hand over Ryley…It was just a horrible reminder of what he would never have with Kalila.

Never have a child of their own, made from their love.

She clasped Rath tighter. “Ria?” he questioned.

“Maybe we should relieve Zan of Ryley,” she suggested lightly.

“Why?” he groaned, “This is the first time we’ve been free of the little bugger in two months.”

“Rath!” she scolded, getting out of bed to dress. He watched her through hooded eyes from the bed. She smacked a naked thigh and headed for the parlor door.

“Ria!” he whined, “Come back to bed, we’ll get him later!”

She shook her head, her husband could really be the biggest idiot at times. He wasn’t even thinking about the predicament his best friend was in. Poor Zan… Knocking sounded at the door even as she opened it.

“Zan! I was just coming to get him.” She smiled at him gently as he handed Ryley to her before turning anxiously away. “Zan…” She placed a hand on his arm. He turned, looking at her questioningly. “I didn’t think earlier, I’m sor-“

“It’s fine,” he said tersely, “Good night Lady Ria.” His manner became impersonal as he strode away stiffly. She sighed, biting her lip, he had taken her apology the wrong way. She would have to fix that snag tomorrow.
*~*~*

Rath listened to his wife from the next room. He smiled at her mindless cooing to their son. Wrapping a sheet around himself, he climbed out of bed and walked toward the small room they had designated as Ryley’s.

“Ria?” he whispered. She smiled at him, laying the baby down gently. He felt pride swell in his heart at the sight of his little family, his sweet wife and child. She reached down at swept the brown hair from the tiny forehead and kissed the place her fingers had touched. Rath looked down as the boy curled up, smiling in his sleep, one drool covered fist in his mouth.

“Well,” Ria commented, as she moved the hand away, wiping at it gently with a towel draped on the crib, “He’s obviously your son.”

“Yeah,” he agreed happily, not catching the dry tone in her husky voice. She laughed and he glared at her. “Ssh,” he reprimanded, leading her from the room and back to theirs. Wait…

Was she implying he drooled?!

“Hey!” he protested, too late. Her laughter increased and he pulled away miffed.

“Aww, poor baby,” she teased, “Come here.” He came. He knew an order when he heard one. “Let’s see if I can’t make it up to you.”
*~*~*

Ava was still frozen on her bed. She hadn’t moved from this spot except to see the horrid child off. Small pleasure though it had been.

Zan had yet to return. He had been watching Ryley all day and the night and day before that with Kalila. Always with Kalila. She felt a bitter smile cross her lips.

The little whore was gone now. For good, hopefully. Zan would come to her now, turn to her for comfort in his grief. She would do her best to take that grief away. She would make him fall in love with her, she would make him her soulmate.

It was just a matter of time.

She smiled for real this time and crept under the covers to wait. He would appear in the morning. There was no one to keep him up late now. No one except her.

Soon he would be hers, she was his wife after all, his destined Queen. He would see that soon.
*~*~*

Zan tread softly into the stables. They were a day ahead. That was too much. He would need a swift horse to catch up, a clever horse to keep them close yet a safe distance away.

A horse that could carry two people.

He headed to the Gems stabled near the back. Their bright hides rippled, lending again to the family of fire they were beholden to. For some reason the warm colors were more reliable.

They whinnied in alarm as he approached. “Ssh, ssh,” he silenced, holding out a sugar cube and letting them sniff and lip at his hands, letting them comprehend the familiar scent. Three of them crowded closer. “Yes, pets, I’m going to need your help.”

The choices were slim, the decision seemed already made. Kalila’s Ember was too small and delicate for a journey such as this, and her colt, Torch, was still too young. He hadn’t been properly trained and had yet to grow into his legs. He turned to his stallion. Flame whickered quietly in response to his master’s unspoken plea.

The two of them seemed to be able to read each other’s minds sometimes, even with the difference of species. The herd leader nipped his consort and colt back until Zan had enough room to open the pen door without obstacles. Flame walked out and stood, an eye still on his herd.

His mate stuck her head over the door and Flame blew at her in reassurance as Zan saddled him, working as quickly as possible, trying not to wake the stable boy. He switched sides to mount and gave Ember a quick pat. “We’ll bring her back, girl,” he promised.

She nodded at him, backing away slightly in mincing steps, snorting at him. Her affinity for Kali was overshadowed only by Zan’s. She loved her mistress as well as her mate and son. Zan smiled at the horsey blessing.

He rode away to the back gate, where Kayl and Lex waited. “Watch your back, man,” Lex told him, hitting his leg.

“Yes, Highness, be careful.” Zan looked at Kayl and was surprised to see him smile. “We are trusting you to bring our Princess back safe.”

He smiled. “I will,” he said, “I will.”

“Then go with all of Antar’s blessings as well as those of Eros.”

“Thank you, my friends,” he whispered, oddly choked up. He spurred Flame forward, not sparing a backward glance. Soon he was past the cobbled streets of the city and on his way to the desert after his Kali.

He gave the Gem another kick, speeding him forward, closer to his destination and his heart.
*~*~*

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Post by dreamangel » Sun Apr 20, 2003 4:37 pm

KALILA 24

He still hadn’t returned. She had fallen asleep and when she awoke, he still wasn’t in the room. She had dressed and searched their chambers, then the rest of the wing. He wasn’t around.

She decided the gardens would be the next likely place. He spent a lot of time there, most of it trysting with that…Kalila. But another extensive search produced no trace of her dark-haired husband.

This was too much. Where was he?

Giving up, she headed for breakfast, hoping one of the other royals had seen him. Ava sat silently and glanced around the mostly solemn table. Only Vilandra and Tynan were chatting, everyone else was looking sad and staring at the table, picking at their food. Zan wasn’t here either.

“Has anyone seen Zan?” she asked, smiling sweetly.

“What?” Tynan responded.

“Zan, I haven’t seen him since yesterday morning. He never came to bed last night and he wasn’t anywhere in our section of the palace or the gardens.”

Everyone was looking at each other in bewilderment, obviously trying to recall the last time they had seen the prince.

“Maybe he’s in the city,” Ria offered.

“The market doesn’t open for an hour,” Rath pointed out, finding the fault in his wife’s argument, “he wouldn’t be there.”

“How do you know?” she demanded, “He was looking tense and all stressed out when he dropped Ryley off last night. He probably didn’t want to sleep and went for a walk to burn off his energy. And if he did, then the city would have provided the most space to pace in and if he got tired, the villagers would have offered to let him spend the night. They love him, they’d do anything for him, and they know he’s going to be overwrought…Losing Kalila and all…” she got quiet and sniffed. Ava saw tears form in her eyes.

For Eros’ sake! Did the child have the whole universe at her feet?!

“In any case,” Ria continued, “We should give him a few hours to compose himself and return to the palace.”

“Quite right,” Ariann put in, “I admire your thinking Ria. This is going to be a difficult period of adjustment for Zan. We all must be patient and caring and put up with sudden moods and disappearances.” She stared around the table, finally focusing on Tynan. “I expect you all to give him time. There will be no pushing.”

“But-“

“No, Tynan. We wait.”
*~*~*

“It’s been a few hours!” he exploded, glaring at his wife. “He’s not home, and I am tired of waiting!”

“Tynan…”

“No. I will tolerate absolutely no more excuses from you on his behalf, Ariann. RATH!”

The door opened and his son’s best friend and the commander of the Royal Guard walked in. “Majesty?”

“I want the Guard combing the city. I want Zan found and brought to me as soon as possible. Is that understood?”

“Yes, Majesty.” He left the room.

“And if they don’t find him?” Ariann questioned.

He turned to her. “Then I guess it would be safe to assume he went after that Paerhnian whore.” He watched her shocked expression and smiled grimly. The thought had obviously not occurred to her. Maybe that would make her think twice before accusing him of not knowing his own son.
*~*~*

Rath couldn’t quite comprehend the why of Zan’s disappearance. If he was this upset over Kalila leaving, why had he let her agree to it? And why hadn’t he come to him to talk? They were best friends, Zan should have trusted him enough to confide in him.

But that was uncharitable, Rath thought guiltily. He hadn’t been a good friend recently. Zan had had a lot to deal with, the whole father hating wife thing, as well as the divorce and marrying Ava, the demands of Kivar and losing Kalila for good…The stress had obviously been too much for him to handle and Rath had been too preoccupied with Ria and Ryley to notice.

When they found Zan he’d sit him down and have a nice long chat about everything, just like they used to. But for right now…He had to actually find Zan.

“Kayl!” he called to his first lieutenant. The blond man turned away from his dark-haired companion, looking at his commander with unease. Rath would contemplate that reaction later.

“Yes, Commander?”

“Prince Zan is missing,” he told him.

“Really?” he asked, though the surprise seemed a planned response. Rath narrowed his eyes, watching as Kayl and the young man exchanged glances.

“Yes. King Tynan has ordered us to search the city for him. I’m leaving it up to you to get everything ordered appropriately.

“Yes, Commander.” He turned to go.

“Kayl.” The lieutenant stopped. “Don’t let Niko discover Zan’s absence.”

“Yes, Commander,” he said, with obvious relief. He walked away, the other man following, looking just as pleased to escape Rath’s scrutiny as Kayl. Something was definitely up. He’d have to keep an eye on those two.

Now, to find his best friend…
*~*~*

Zan spurred Flame faster and faster, but not fast enough to wear him out. He needed him as fresh as possible to make a quick get away. He was just anxious to get to Paerhnian City.

He didn’t want to give Kivar a greater chance than possible to get to Kalila. His Kali…Flame suddenly jumped into an all out sprint. There was no way he was going to give Kivar that much time. No way.
*~*~*

To say he was nervous was an understatement.

“Relax,” Lexus told him, lounging languidly in a chair next to him. He, himself, was straight-backed, rubbing his sweaty hands on his pants in an effort to calm himself down. It wasn’t helping.

“Relax?” he hissed, “This could put a black mark on my record. I could be demoted! How am I suppose to relax?!”

Blue eyes regarded him with amusement. “First off, it was a royal command, so you didn’t do anything wrong. Second off, they’ve got no proof besides the fact that you’re acting like you are. You’re gonna give us away if you don’t calm down.”

“Do you do this often?”

A smile was his only response. “I’ve been keeping royal secrets since I was ten, Kayl, the practice has only just resurfaced, and I’m good at it. That’s all. But you’re gonna need some work if you want to get past the queen. She’s really…um…observant about things like Zan.”

He didn’t have a chance to talk back, the door opened and Rath beckoned them inside. He walked in first, with Lexus following, as was appropriate with their rankings. He was startled to find himself confronted by, not only the Queen, but King Tynan, Princesses Vilandra and Ava, Commander Rath, Lady Ria, and their son.

Needless to say, his nervousness increased.
*~*~*

Lex wanted to roll his eyes, he really did. He never would have believed that anything could turn his calm, cool lieutenant into a stammering idiot, but he was wrong. Being confronted by the entire Royal Family set him quivering in his boots.

He should have told him before they walked in to let him talk, but it was too late now, he’d just have to interject when he got the chance.

“And you didn’t see Zan leaving?”

“No, sir,” he replied easily to Rath before Kayl could talk.

“His Gem is missing from the stables, it’s a quite noticeable Fire, are you sure you didn’t see anything?”

“Not a thing, Commander.” He smiled at his leader, “May we go now?”

Rath looked at them, everyone looked at them. He met Vilandra’s gaze steadily, giving her a wink before focusing again on Rath, who was still obviously suspicious of them. “I don’t believe you, I’m telling you that now, and I’m gonna be watching you two, but we don’t have anything on you, so I’m letting you go.”

“Thanks,” he said sarcastically and turned to leave.

“Wait.” They stopped and turned again. He looked at the king, bored.

“I have a feeling Zan went after…” He snapped his fingers, trying to come up with something.

“Princess Kalila?” Lex offered.

“That’s it. Yes, he went after her. I want the Guards prepared to ride out after him in an hour.”

“Yes, Majesty,” Kayl said nervously and then he bowed and ducked out.

Lex gave them all a sweeping bow and then left, grinning. Hopefully they had managed to stall enough so that Zan had time to get Kalila out.
*~*~*

“Tynan this is ridiculous. You’ll never catch up with him.”

“So little faith, Ariann.” He ignored her as the handlers brought his chosen mount. The finest specimen in the stable. But he couldn’t ignore her fearful gasp.

“Tynan you can’t be serious!” He turned irritably to his wife, about to say that he knew exactly what he was doing, but she was staring at the Gem in horror.

“What are you complaining about now?” he demanded.

“You can’t ride Torch!”

“And why not?”

“He’s still a colt! He hasn’t been broken into a saddle yet and he can’t carry a rider!”

He snorted and looked at the horse, who was currently fighting his handlers. He strode over and grabbed the reins of the Fire Gem. The horse quieted beneath his touch.

“See, nothing to worry about Ariann, he just needs a proper rider.”

“Tynan…” she warned.

“Hush, Ariann,” he stated harshly as he mounted. He missed the smoldering look in Torch’s eyes. The horse was still as he adjusted to the king’s weight. Tynan looked around at his company of Guards and nodded to Rath before spurring Torch.

The next thing he knew, he was falling hard as Torch reared upward. He stared in horror as flashing hoofs came down on him. Blackness started to envelope him.

He heard distant sounds of screaming, felt the stomping stop, and could envision the general chaos of the courtyard.

This was a definite set back in his plans.
*~*~*

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Post by dreamangel » Sun Apr 20, 2003 4:38 pm

KALILA 25

Night had fallen just as he reached the outer limits of the City. He had traveled steadily throughout the day and had managed to sneak in and out of provinces undetected… Paerhnian City would present a bigger challenge.

Flame blended in easily, the Gem a common sight in the country, but Zan…not so much. He left his horse outside a shop that was still open and slipped away to a housing district. He didn’t like the prospect of stealing one little bit, but he needed a disguise if he was going to be able to approach the palace.

Finally he spotted a dark house, the occupants gone or asleep, and took some of he clothing from where it hung to dry. Hiding, watching carefully, he stripped and pulled the new clothes on. They were an okay fit, obviously belonging to a larger man than he, but they would do.

Zan replaced the stolen garments with his own. They were of good quality, the owners of the house would be able to remake them or sell them. “Thank you,” he whispered as he crept back to his waiting Gem.

Now to rescue Kali.
*~*~*

Something was happening.

She could feel it, all around. Expectations, apprehensions, and something else, something like…hope.

Since coming to this palace a year or so ago, all she had felt was sorrow, that was her own, and the storm of war. This was new, these emotions swirling around, the sorrow was now not just hers.

Her sister had come.

Just yesterday, her sister had come.

They had spent most of the day talking about their years apart. She had explained to the smaller girl about her husband’s death…and about their father’s. They had wept together, and then Kalila had told her about her separation from Zan.

Her baby sister had been so sad.

Serena restlessly got off her couch. Kivar had given her his condolences and offered to give her her own set of apartments in his palace. She had accepted his offer and had moved in after burial plans had been made for her father. She had kept her eyes and ears open since her arrival and had no doubt that Kivar had a hand in Thane’s death as well as her husband’s.

She would be going to Antar as soon as she had enough information for the Prince, but then Kalila had been brought here and her plans had changed.

Now she would have to rescue her sister and escape before Kivar could get to her.

Unfortunately, she wouldn’t have the information she needed to help Antar’s people.

Serena had yet to inform Kalila of her impending rescue, it had been a spur of the moment decision and she didn’t have it properly thought out yet. But she was out of time.

She walked out of her rooms and headed to the part of the palace Kalila was being held in. Luckily, Kivar had not assigned guards due to the lattice work of the room. He hadn’t wanted any other man to lay eyes on his little princess.

Surprise sliced through the air, and Serena froze at the overwhelming power in it. She barely had time to register movement where there should have been none, and then the surprise became her own.

There was a knife at her throat.
*~*~*

“Who are you?” he demanded, making sure the point of the knife didn’t cut her. He didn’t want to hurt her, he just needed to scare her into submission. Eros, help him. “What are you doing here?”

“I am Serena and I’m going to see my sister.” Serena. That was Kalila’s sister’s name! And she was going to see his Kali, she could help him! Hopefully.

He released her and she turned to face him, gray eyes fearful but determined. “And who are you, sir? No man should be lurking about these quarters, Kivar has forbidden it. Unless you are an assassin, come to murder Kalila…” She backed up, fear now radiating from every part of her.

“No,” he shouted, then lowered his voice, stepping forward earnestly, “No, I would never hurt her.” She was now looking at him closely. “I am-”

“Prince Zan!” Her demeanor suddenly changed and she dropped into a curtsey. “Thank Eros! You have come to rescue her?”

“Yes,” he assured her, “How did you..?”

“Your eyes, Highness, Kalila is very good at descriptions. I am glad you have come. I was going to return her myself, but this way, I may stay behind.” She was rambling, and he didn’t understand half the things coming out of her mouth, but the gist of it was she was going to help him get Kalila out of here. “I will come to Antar when everything is ready.”

“What?”

“We do not have time. Continue down this corridor. The lattice room at the end holds my sister. Tell her I love her and I will see her as soon as I am able.”

“Serena…” The blond woman turned back to him, gray eyes compassionate and sad.

“She loves you a great, great deal, and I can tell you return her love equally. Take good care of her Zan, she needs you.”
*~*~*

Turn. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen. Deep breath, turn, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen.

Fifteen steps to each pace. She kept counting, kept pacing, trying to numb her brain. The thought of what was going to happen tonight made her sicker than the dizziness pacing had caused. So she tried not to think of it.

It was impossible.

The room was down in lurid reds and garish purples. The huge bed reeked of seduction. She felt trapped in the lair of a beast. A beast bent on having his way with her.

She was prepared this time. She had begged for a day to ready herself, to rid herself of the desert grim coating her. He had allowed it, thereby giving her a chance to gain her bearings and regroup.

She would fight this time. She was no longer a trembling child who felt the need to submit to her husband, no matter how much he disgusted her.

She was a woman now. A woman who had known the love of the greatest man alive. A woman who was carrying a child. His child. Just as she was his.

And she would protect what was his.

A rustle of fabric caught her eye. She stopped pacing and stared at the shadowed figure through the lattice work. It was a man. He was now at the door, trying to get in. It wasn’t Kivar, he would have a key. Fear struck her. Who was this man? What did he want from her?

A fist smashed the intricately designed wood, somehow managing to pry the door from it’s hinges. Kalila stood in the middle of the room as the door swung open. For some reason, a quiet calm had stolen over her, banking the terror.

The man silhouetted in the door way went still as his head came up to look at her. His tense body relaxed. It was a body she knew more intimately than any other, a body she had clung to during the darkest of nights, a body that was her rock, a body that belonged to her savior. Her Prince, her lover, her husband.

Brown eyes met amber in a rush of unspeakable joy.

“Zan.”
*~*~*

Her sweet, sweet voice called to him, and he rushed over to her, able to move from his state of frozen shock.

His Kali was back in his arms again, where she belonged, where she would never again leave.

Her lips were latched onto his, sweet lips that kissed him as if she had never kissed him before. Her hands wove into his hair, his hands explored her, searching for any signs of hurt. For any signal that someone would have to die tonight for touching her.

“Kali, Kali, Kali…” Her name sprung from his lips and as his mouth opened, her tongue slipped in, demanding he give her everything. He groaned heavily, they didn’t have time for this, but they had to finish this now. A week apart had been too long.

He pulled away, ignoring her protest, his blood was pounding in his head. Not the floor, not the bed…Little hands reached up his shirt, a tongue ran over his throat. With a low growl of frustration he captured her hard up against him and they dropped onto a large pile of cushions placed on the floor for lounging purposes.

Her long dark hair fanned out over the gold and lavender pillows, she stared up at him, her rosy lips swollen from his assault. A momentary guilt swept through him at using his gentle wife so callously, but her hands were again at work and any inhibitions were gone in a second.

He needed her. NOW.

She had succeeded in removing his pants enough to free him, and he pushed her skirt up to give him access to her heat. He plunged desperately into her hot, welcoming depths, and she screamed in pleasure.

Abruptly, he remembered that they could not be caught and he covered her mouth with his, swallowing each noise she made and effectively muffling his own as he stroked her inner walls.

He was rapidly losing control, but managed to find her sweet spot, sending her into writhing ecstasy before poring himself into her. His collapse soon followed, crushing her into the pillows, and he wanted so badly to give into the oblivion of sleep. After so many sleepless hours of riding, he just wanted to remain buried in his Kali and let everything drift away.

But that could not happen.

Regretfully he disengaged himself from her small form and straightened up his clothing. “Zan?” she murmured. He helped her up, cleaning her up as best he could and trying not to let her fall down, though his legs were rather wobbly themselves.

“We must hurry, love,” he told her in a whisper, kissing her gently, “If we are to get out of here before he comes, we must go now.” Zan took her hand and led her back the way he had come.

“Zan?”

He looked up at her as she clutched at Flame’s mane to steady herself. “Yes, sweet?”

She smiled down at him, “I love you.”

“I love you, too.” He swung himself up behind her on the Gem. “Now lets go home.” Her warm body snuggled back against him as he directed Flame out of the City and back into open desert.
*~*~*

He fiddled with his robe once again. He was nervous, so very nervous. His last attempt at a wedding night with Kalila had been ruined. She had fled straight into that princeling’s arms.

This time would be different.

She knew what to expect this time, and had not flinched from the duty, merely asked for time to prepare.

He wouldn’t scare her this time. He wouldn’t let his excitement rule him. He would go slow, gently giving her pleasure as he took his, letting her know the ecstasy of a man's embrace.

There was no doubt in his mind that the selfish Zan had simply used her, never trying to please her. It wasn’t in an Antarian’s nature to care about their wives. He had probably hurt her.

Jealousy and rage reared up. That…boy would be taught a lesson soon enough.

He turned and strode from the room. He walked calmly down the hallway, turned right and continued down another hall, turning right again and then left, and followed the dimly lit corridor to the small den at the end.

Frowning, he noticed no light or movement from inside. He hoped she hadn’t gone to sleep, she had known he was coming tonight. He had given her the requested day, she should be prepared for his arrival…

The door was open.

The room was empty.

He stood in the center of the room, clapping on the lights. The bed was made, looking like it had never been slept in, and there was a wear mark on the carpet. He glanced down at the pile of silk pillows he had placed in the room for her to relax on.

They had been used. The smaller pillows were dislodged, spread around the room in an almost frantic manner, and the largest gold pillow had a stain on it. A stain caused by a woman in the midst of passion.

A glint of metal on the floor caught his eye and he knelt, picking up the piece of jewelry. It was a ring, a man’s ring, with the seals of Antar and Gorganin intertwined, a ruby gem and a light blue one set in the gold.

It was a ring he had seen once before. At a wedding. A wedding where a golden-haired princess placed it on a black-haired prince who was staring at a small, brunette with big eyes.

His hand clenched, trying to crush the ring as he would crush the black-haired prince.

Zan would pay.
*~*~*

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Post by dreamangel » Sun Apr 20, 2003 4:38 pm

KALILA 26

The first rays of sunlight somehow managed to slip between his lids, forcing him from his peaceful slumber and into the world of the waking. He opened his eyes reluctantly, but the sight that greeted him caused him to catch his breath.

Kalila was curled up beside him, small and delicate and bathed in the rose and gold glow of the dawn.

He reached his hand out reverently, letting his fingertips trace over her perfect features, lingering on her full lips…Lips that had loved him so generously.

She stirred, and her lips parted, her tongue peeking out unconsciously to touch his finger and then her mouth opened wider and she sucked gently. Zan groaned, and, unable to help himself, replaced his finger with his mouth and tongue…

And thus he woke her, his sweet beloved. She opened her dark, neverending eyes and kissed him back until they were both breathless.

Her smile banished the chill the desert night had instilled in him, and the touch of her fingers made him quake.

“You came for me,” she whispered softly, pressing light kisses to his throat.

He swallowed hard, “I told you I would.”

“Yes,” she agreed.

They lay like that for awhile; her body resting on top of his, staring into each other’s eyes, small, adoring smiles on both their faces. Zan ran his hands through her hair, hardly daring to believe they had actually made it out of Paerhna alive. But she was real, and they had done it.

They had set off from the city at a dead sprint on Flame, traveling slightly to the east and not directly toward Antar. He hadn’t wanted to give Kivar an easy chance to catch them. They had taken shelter last night in an oasis when a windstorm had started abruptly. It had been a stroke of luck to have both come at such a fortuitous time. The storm would cover their tracks and they would be safe for the night.

“What do you want to do?”

“What?” she asked.

“We have a choice. We could live out the rest of our lives together as desert nomads,” he grinned, “Or we can go back to a life of drudgery and misery where forces beyond our control want to tear us apart. You decide.”

“We have to go back.”

“What?!” he demanded, sitting up so suddenly she went tumbling from his lap and landed with an “Oompf” in the sand. “Kali!” he exclaimed, “Are you all right?” He rushed to her side. “I am so sorry, you have no idea-” He stopped talking as he turned her over, she was laughing.

“I’m fine Zan. But I was serious, we have to return to Antar.”

“Why?” he questioned in disbelief.

“You’re Crown Prince, Zan, you have duties.”

“Screw duties.”

“Do you want to screw your people too?”

He paused. “No,” he whispered.

She nodded at him. “There’s going to be a war now Zan, you know that, and the people are going to need you, not Tynan. You’re the one they respect.”

“I know.”

The staring contest began again, broken only by Flame’s impatient whinny. The looked over at the Gem, who stomped his hoof and snorted at them. He wanted to return to his mate and colt.

Zan heaved a mighty sigh. “Guess we should probably go then, huh?”

Kalila smiled, albeit sadly, and she rose to her feet, extending her hands to her lover. He accepted her help and stood before her and kissed her gently. “It’ll be all right, Zan,” she told him, “We’ll make it all right.”
*~*~*

“Niko! Where are you going?”

“I need a refresher, I’ll return in but a moment my sweet.” He strolled out of the bedroom, tying his robe in the process, and into the parlor area where a tall blond sat on the sofa. She rose, blue eyes submissive.

“You sent for me, sir?”

“Yesterday,” he said shortly, “and keep your voice down.”

“I’m sorry, sir, but I’ve been busy.”

He snorted derisively. “Trying to seduce the Second, Cora?”

She stiffened but gave no defense. Her eyes darted to the bedroom door. “Only to gain information, much as you do with the Princess.” Her tone had a touch of mocking mixed in with the challenge.

“Vilandra is a willing participate, Rath is rather…preoccupied…with his wife. Don’t you agree?”

Iris eyes narrowed and she drew in a breath that was much like a hiss, but he waved away his barb with a flick of his risk.

“It does not matter. The Princess has just divulged the very information we’ve been waiting for. Zan has not shut himself away in his rooms like a pathetic imbecile as we have been told, he has in fact, gone after the girl.”

“Just as Kivar planned.”

“Precisely.” He smiled coldly, “And now I think we’ll initiate the rest of that plan. We’ll start with the Commander and his family and make sure it cannot be traced back to us. And also, don’t give any sign of our knowledge of Zan’s departure.”

“Yes, sir.” She made to leave but Niko stopped her at the door.

“Oh, and Cora?”

“Yes, sir?”

“It might be a good idea to keep close to the Rath. He’ll need someone to turn to when he’s grieving over the deaths of his beloved wife and child.

“Yes, sir.”

“Niko?” Vilandra called from the other room as Cora left the room.

“Coming my sweet.” He hurried back into the bedroom, confronted by a very naked Princess who was staring at him lustfully. He smiled, aware of the intense pleasure he was about to receive. Niko loved his job.

“Is everything all right?” she asked as he lay down beside her again. His hand ran over her thigh and he pulled her toward him, capturing her lips in a rough kiss.

“Everything’s perfect.”
*~*~*

To say she was thrilled was less than adequate. She was nearly delirious with happiness. Rath was going to be hers!

Cora had wanted him from the moment she had seen him and the desire hadn’t abated when she discovered he had a wife and child. She hung around him a lot, went to training practices and oohed and aahed over his troops to gain his attention.

He was always pleasant to her, his smile made her weak in the knees, but his wife was a problem. The Lady Ria never allowed her near Rath when she was around. She’d glare at her with those unblinking green eyes and intimidate her out of the Commander’s presence.

She didn’t like Ria.

Which is why killing her would be so much fun!

Cora had decided poison would be the best solution. She had brought with her an herb found only in Paerhna that was undetectable and deadly. It didn’t go into effect right away, but made the dying process seem natural, like an incurable flu, and poison traces wouldn’t show up until six weeks after administering. By which the victim would be dead and buried.

She felt a pang of remorse for having to snuff out Ryley’s little life…He was such a precious baby, but… It was best that all ties to Rath’s previous life be severed.

She wanted him to be totally dependent on her…

She needed him to turn only to her…

Otherwise Kivar’s plans would be ruined.

Otherwise the hidden rebellion’s plans would be ruined.
*~*~*

Ariann sat beside Tynan’s bedside. They had practically transported a hospital wing into his bedchamber. She found the whole thing giving her a constant headache.

He was still out cold, but the doctors had high hopes of a full recovery.

Oh joy. Oh rapture.

While she didn’t want her husband dead…She didn’t really want him conscious either. He was so much easier to deal with while he was in a coma.

She was now acting ruler of Antar until Tynan woke up or until Zan’s return. She was hoping for the latter, as was most of the planet.

She had delayed the Guard in it’s persecution of Zan, she was sure that he had found Kalila by now and was on his way home. Thank Eros!

“Your Majesty?”

She looked over to the messenger who was hovering at the doorway. She glanced briefly at the nurse and excused herself.

“Yes?”

“Our satellites have detected a ship just entering the Whirlwind Galaxy.”

She frowned. “A ship?”

“Yes, Majesty. One of ours. The scientists believe it’s the expedition ship we sent to Terra twenty years ago.”

“To Terra?”
*~*~*

Satisfied blue eyes swept over the constellations of his home galaxy. Soon he would be back on Antar…Maybe he’d even take a trip to Gorganin and look up that red-haired girl he’d tumbled before he left.

That had been a good time…

His time on the planet Terra, or “Earth” as those filthy humans had called it, had been a waste of time. Nero shuddered in remembrance. Luckily, the mission had been completed, and he would delight in informing the King that it was an inferior planet and the humans would make…diligent slaves.

The planet itself was disposable.
*~*~*

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Post by dreamangel » Sun Apr 20, 2003 4:39 pm

KALILA 27

They had just come out of the dense foliage surrounding the capital, the sight of which had given the two of them renewed hope, and were now on their way to the palace. So far there had been no sign of Kivar and his armies and Zan wanted to warn his father and mother of the upcoming siege as quick as he could in order to gather the necessary reinforcements before the attack.

A ripple of silence descended over the people as he and Kalila rode through the gate in the outer wall. Zan halted Flame, who danced around a bit at the sudden stop, and met the gazes of the staring market-goers. They looked up at the two of them, every color eye imaginable fixed first on him and then on his petite wife.

A sudden cry went up and the people surged forward, surrounding them. He felt a stab of panic but quickly realized that they were shouting in joy. They were escorted to the palace amid jubilant exclamations and smiling faces.

Everyone was thrilled that their Princess was safe and home.

The Palace Guards opened the gate without a word, grinning at them, their eyes twinkling. Zan saluted them and grinned back, then shot a look over his shoulder at where Kali was waving happily back at her people. He felt a swelling of pride at the celebration going on. Proud of his people’s loyalty and love…

Proud of his beautiful wife.

“ZAN!” His head swung around to see his mother and Lex striding swiftly toward them, expressions of delight and relief on their faces. “Zan, thank Eros you’re home safe! And Kalila!” She rushed over and gave the younger woman a motherly hug before squeezing the life out of Zan. “Guardian Lexus just informed me of the riot your arrival started.”

“It wasn’t really a riot, per say, merely an uproar.” He smiled cheekily down at her and she smacked him lightly.

“Well, all I can say is thank Eros again. You returned at a most propitious time. Something has happened to Tynan.”

Zan felt a brief chill and tightened his grip on Kali’s hand. “What happened? Is he hurt, ill, dying?”

“He’s a…a bit unconscious at the moment, the healers don’t know when he’ll wake up. It could be two minutes from now or a year from now…He may have permanent brain damage…” Zan raised his eyebrow and she gave him an exasperated glare. “In any case, you are acting King now, and there’s a lot going on.”

“All right, I’ll be there in and hour or so, I want to take Kalila to the healers.”

Ariann, Lex, and Kalila looked at him questioningly. “Why?” they all echoed each other.

“Just in case.”

“But nothing happened!”

“Kali, you’ve been vomiting a lot, and it doesn’t seem natural-”

“Zan,” she cut in, “there’s a perfectly logical explanation for that.” He looked down at her, wondering how on Antar her being sick was logical and explainable.
*~*~*

“Well, then, if Kalila is fine we can proceed onward,” Ariann said.

“No, I still want her to go,” repeated staunchly, frowning at her. Ariann sighed heavily, he got his stubbornness from Tynan, no doubt about that. Thankfully that and looks were the only things they had in common.

“Zan this is important and Kalila says she’s all right,” she pointed out gently. His expression was in the ‘I am the mighty Crown Prince, do as I command’ mode that he had used as a child to bully Vilandra and to try to stay up after his bedtime. It was best to approach him calmly when he was in that mood.

“Well I-”

“How ‘bout a compromise?”

Zan glared at the Guardian for the interruption, but she looked at him politely, thankful for a rational point of view. “What do you mean, Guardian Lexus?” she inquired.

“Well, if you need Zan, I can take her highness to the hospital wing and that way, both things get done.”

“But I don’t need to go to the healers!”

“Sweet, I just want you checked out.” He turned to Lexus. “Lex, you may escort her, and please don’t leave her side, I’ll summon you later to go over details of the examination-”

“Zan!”

“And I also wish to discuss another…project with you.”

The dark-haired man nodded and then bowed to Kalila and she started walking, giving a miffed little sniff to Zan when he told her he’d see her soon. Ariann looked at her son in relief, he was home finally, now things could get done.

“Come Zan,” she beckoned, heading towards her husband’s rooms, “Kalila will be fine with Lexus, he’s been trained to protect the Royalty.”

“I know Mother, and I trust him completely, but I don’t like leaving her…”
*~*~*

Disbelief was the foremost reaction in Kalila’s mind, followed closely by annoyance, both at her husband’s thick-headedness. She was perfectly fine!

She sighed and shot a look at her escort, who was whistling in a corner. He caught her look and winked at her, grinning. She snapped back a bit, surprised at his boldness, but then gave him a small smile in return. He seemed nice.

“How long have you been friends with Zan?” she asked, trying to spark a conversation. The silence was a bit awkward.

“Coupla months. We kind of hit it off after he walked into a wall.”

She blinked, then stared at him closely, uncomprehending. “A wall?”

“Yeah,” he said seriously, “We were walking to the war room when BAM! Right into a wall.” He nodded a bit, obviously remembering. “I made some smart-ass comment and Zan said I could be his friend. Of course, that was after I said he could be mine."

This made her burst out into giggles and he grinned at her again and gave her a double thumbs-up. “And may I be allowed to be your friend too, Guardian Lexus?”

He looked her up and down, frowning slightly, as if judging her worthiness to be associated with him. She giggled again, unable to stop herself, and finally he responded. “I suppose you could…” he said graciously, as if bestowing a great honor upon her, “If…”

“If what?”

“If you stop with the Guardian Lexus crap, it’s just Lex.”

“All right, Lex it is. And you can call me Kali.”

“How about Kalila, I think Zan would see red if I seemed too familiar with you, and he’d definitely blow a gasket if I started calling you by his pet name.”

She mulled that over, and nodded agreeably, Zan was very possessive of her. She rubbed her belly softly, wondering just how much more possessive he’d become when he found out she was pregnant.
*~*~*

Blackness. With the occasional white spots. Sometime some yellow or red, but only in sudden bursts. That was the extent of his vision. And hearing…he wasn’t going to go into it. He felt black and blue all over, his head was spinning, and he couldn’t move an inch. He wanted to scream and shout and order people around, but nothing seemed to be connecting in his body.

A least his brain was still functioning.

Tynan concentrated on that, his mind, and tried to develop outward from there. Ooh! Ooh! Something…something…he was hearing something! What was it? He focused now on the voices, there seemed to be two of them, a man and a woman…What were they saying?

“What do you mean he tried to ride Torch! That has got to be the stupidest-”

Ah-ha, words, actual words, now he was getting somewhere.

“I know, dear, but you know how he is, even with the warnings he just up and jumped into the saddle-”

Oh. He recognized those voices now. It was his disobedient son and his insufferable wife, and they were obviously discussing him. Right there in his room, in front of his bed! The nerve…How rude!

“I wish you wouldn’t speak of me as if I weren’t here,” he said groggily, trying hard to form the right words. He opened his eyes now, and the two blurry figures gradually grew more distinct and he could see Zan and Ariann staring at him.

“You’re awake,” she said blankly.

“Obviously,” he retorted, irritated, “What’s going on?”
*~*~*

“You won’t tell him?” she asked anxiously, for about the millionth time.

“No, I promise I’ll let you surprise him,” he reassured her, for about the millionth time.

“Good.” She smiled up at him gratefully. The healer who had examined her had informed her that she was with child, confirming Kalila’s earlier suspicions. She was half relieved and half worried.

Relieved that now she knew for sure and that she was in Antar with Zan. Relieved because now she could finally tell her husband the wonderful news.

She was worried because she didn’t know how the rest of his family would take the announcement. They weren’t married anymore, and the child could be named a bastard and denied his birthright. She knew in her heart Zan and the Queen wouldn’t allow that to happen, but pregnancy was making her think some irrational thoughts.

Plus…war was on the horizon. What kind of life could she provide for this child? What safety could she provide?

“Little one!” The shriek of happiness echoed over to her, knocking her out of her daze. Before she knew it, she was being choked to death in an overzealous hug. “You’re back! Zan did it! Hurrah! We should have a parade or a party or something…”

“Hi Ria.” Green eyes sparkled, but her hair had lost some of its luster and she seemed rather pale. “ Are you all right?” she wanted to know.

“Oh, yes, we’re fine.” She sneezed and then picked up Ryley from where he had toddled over to her, looking worse than Ria, Kalila noted with concern. “It’s just a cold, it’ll be gone in a couple of days, but I want to make sure. Better safe than sorry.”

“Right. Well, I have to go find Zan…I have something important to tell him.” Her fluttering hands came to rest on her slightly pudgy stomach once more.

Ria stared at her shrewdly, and she lowered her hands self-consciously. “Little one, are you..?”

“Yes,” she affirmed, fuzzy feelings coursing through her, “Yes I am.”

“Ooh,” Ria squealed, “Zan’ll be so pleased!”

“I know…But, Ria…I want to keep this low-key for awhile…so don’t-”

Her best friend waved her hand, “Don’t worry, I know when to keep my mouth shut if the need arises, and this is a special thing…Congratulations.”

“Thanks, and you two start feeling better, my baby’s gonna need a bestest friend.” She patted Ryley on his soft brown head and gave Ria a quick good-bye squeeze before turning back to Lex, who had stepped back a few paces to give them room.

“Let’s go.”
*~*~*

Zan paced the length of the bedchamber, awaiting Kali’s return. She’d been gone for an awful long time…What if something was wrong?! What if she needed him?!

He heard the door to the parlor open and he strode into the other room in time to see Kalila come waltzing in arm and arm with Lex, laughing their heads off. He felt a bolt of jealousy but shook it off, gathering her close and kissing her softly.

“Hi,” he whispered.

“Hi.” Her lips were pliable against hers, and he could feel her tiny smile as he nuzzled her neck.

“Ahem!”

Right, they had an audience. “Lex,” he said, I have something important to discuss with you, could we-”

“Actually, I should go, I think Kalila has something she’d like to tell you, so I’ll just catch you tomorrow.” He threw them a wink and a wave and backed out the door.

He turned worriedly to his wife. “What is it? What’s wrong? Did-”

She placed a finger on his lips, ebbing his words, and chuckled throatily. “Nothing’s wrong, Zan.”

“Then what did you want to tell me?” She took a deep breath and he watched her closely, loving the flush in her cheeks and the excited shine in her eyes.

“I’m pregnant!”
*~*~*

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dreamangel
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Post by dreamangel » Sun Apr 20, 2003 4:40 pm

KALILA 28

She waited for a bit, letting his brain register what she had said. She knew he had gotten it when his eyes widened slightly and his mouth started smiling involuntarily.

“You’re pregnant,” he stated, “We’re pregnant! We’re going to have a baby!” She laughed at his enthusiasm as he picked her up and started twirling her around the room. She stopped laughing when she realized that he was seriously in danger of tripping over a piece of furniture.

“Zan! Zan, stop!” she ordered, “Put me down.” He did as told and just held her, grinning. She smiled up at him breathlessly, trying to stop her head from spinning.

“I’m going to be a father.” His amber eyes were shining as he looked down at her and placed a gentle hand on the barely noticeable bulge of her stomach. “Hey, little one, it’s your father…”

“Zan,” she said fondly, “He can’t hear you.”

“I know, but- He? We’re having a boy? Did the doctor say? How’d-” She put a finger to his lips.

“No, the doctor didn’t say, but I have a feeling…Call it mother’s intuition, Zan, but I know we’re going to have a son.”

“A son…” His rapt gaze on hers suddenly sharpened and a frown creased his brow. “How long have you known?”

She bit her lip and let her eyes slide uneasily away from his penetrating glare. He was going to be angry with her, she knew it.

“Kalila…” his tone held a tinge of a warning.

“For awhile,” she finally replied, “I didn’t think much about it at first, but…It grew more noticeable and I knew I was…”

“You weren’t going to tell me.” He sounded hurt, and she risked a glance at him, only to look away quickly, her heart nearly breaking at the confusion in his beautiful eyes.

“I was,” she protested, “But things kept coming up and then that hologram…I thought it’d be easier for you if you didn’t know.”

“Kali…Love, nothing could have made your departure any easier, but…” She looked up at him, on the brink of crying, and he trailed off. Large loving hands wiped tenderly at her eyes and he gave her a soft smile. “It doesn’t matter,” he told her, “it’s in the past and done with. Now,” and he swung her up into his arms, “I think we should celebrate.”
*~*~*

They were lounging in their bed when a knock came from the other room. Groaning he slowly got up, Kalila echoing his movements languidly. “One moment,” he called to the intruder.

They helped each other dress, causing a great many sighs and giggles, and finally opened the door to the sitting chamber where Lexus was sitting on the couch. His grin was a knowing one and Zan felt his face flame and saw a blush appear in Kali’s cheeks.

“You wanted to see me, your highness?”

“I did, yes,” he nodded, recalling his need to speak with Lex. “Obviously Kivar’s going to be upset.” He pulled Kalila nearer to him, wrapping a protective arm around her waist. “I want to have guards posted over those in nearest danger.”

“Guards?” he asked.

“Yes.” Kali was looking at him curiously. “I, myself will keep Kalila safe, and I know Rath will do the same for Ria, but I’m going to need your help as well as Kayl’s.”

“Why? I mean, Kivar’s after Kalila, he’s not gonna bother with anyone else.”

She whimpered a little and cuddled closer to him, Zan kissed her forehead. “Kivar wants all of Antar under his dominion. Yes, he wants Kali as his queen, but he can’t do that without help. Which brings me to my sister and Ava.”

“What about them?”

Zan sighed, heart heavy with the betrayal he knew Lonnie was capable of. “Vilandra has slept with Kivar, and is sleeping with Niko now. She believes herself in love with Kivar, and I believe she would help if he asked it of her. I want you to watch her. You’re trustworthy, Lonnie will appreciate that, and you can report to me any meeting with Niko or anything suspicious.”

“Okay,” he agreed, “But what about Ava?”

He scrubbed his face and Kalila clutched one of his hands tighter. “She’s in love with him,” his wife told Lex quietly.

“She says she’s over it, but…” he trailed off, “I just don’t trust her, and I don’t know enough about her to pinpoint what exactly she’d do to get what she wants.”

He looked into to Lex’s honest blue eyes. “I want my family safe, I want my son to grow up on a planet free from hostility. Will you help me do that?”

“You know I will,” his friend replied, then he grinned, “Congrats on the rug rat, by the way. I’m happy for you, and so will be the rest of the planet. When are you going to announce it?”

Zan frowned, “I have some things to take care of first. Could you inform Kayl that I wish to see him?”

“Sure, when?”

“As soon as possible. If I’m not here I will be collecting my things from my old rooms.”

“I’ll tell him.” Lex got up to leave and Zan and Kali escorted him to the door. “I hope everything works out,” he said seriously.

“It will,” Zan responded, grinning. He hooked Kali under his arm and stared down into her beautiful brown eyes. “I’ll make it all right.”
*~*~*

Ava started up from her vanity when the door boomed open. Zan strode in, not looking at her. “Zan? You’re back! I was so worried- What are you doing?”

She watched him as he dragged a bag out from under the bed and put it on top of the bed, then headed to the closet. Clothes came flying out, landing on the bag.

“Packing,” he told her shortly.

“Where are you going? I didn’t hear of an embassy trip.”

“That’s because there isn’t one.”

“Then why are you packing?” She was feeling lost, not sure of where this conversation was headed.

“Because I’m moving.”

Moving? “Where are we moving to?” she asked.

"I'm moving Ava, not you. And I, me as in singular, am moving in with my wife.”

“But I’m you’re wife,” she reminded him.

“You’re my bride, not my wife, and even that won’t be for long.”

“What?” She was so confused now. Zan looked at her finally, his eyes trying to convey something.

“Kalila is pregnant with my heir. As such, we will divorce and I will remarry her. That way you are able to go back to Gorganin and find a man you love, and marry him.”

“But…” She trailed off. So they child had finally told him of her pregnancy. She sighed, knowing that the fortuitous arrival of that ultimatum had been too good to be true. That leech of a girl just never went away. “Where’s your ring?” she asked, suddenly noting it’s absence.

“What?” he questioned, looking taken aback at her change of subject.

“Your ring,” she tried to clarify, grabbing his left hand and showing him the lack of wedding band on his ring finger. “The one that matches mine.” She held up her own hand, their planets’ seals delicately set together upon it. “Where is it?”

“I don’t know,” he said, pulling his hand out of hers.

“What do you mean you don’t know? That’s our wedding band! It’s sacred-“

“Ava!” he exclaimed, “It doesn’t matter, okay? We’re getting a divorce anyway. Now I’m sorry I lost the ring, but-“

“I never agreed to a divorce,” she interrupted him.

“Wha-“

“Prince Zan?” Zan looked up and she swung around. A handsome, attractive man stood uncertainly in the bedroom doorway.

“Thank Eros, Kayl.”

“What? What’s going on?” she demanded.

“Lieutenant Kayl, this is the Princess Ava. Ava, this is Kayl, he’s your bodyguard.”

“What?” Zan didn’t say another word, just grabbed his bag and headed out the door. “Zan!” she cried.

“I’ll send someone to gather up the rest of my things!” he called back.

“Zan!”

He didn’t come back. Ava looked at Kayl, and he looked at her, shifting uncomfortably. “Um…Hi,” he offered.
*~*~*

“I don’t need a bodyguard!” she shouted.

He blinked blue eyes and responded calmly. “Be that as it may Princess, I have my orders.”

“Well you can tell Zan to stuff it! I’m not going to be watched over like some common criminal. I am a Princess of Antar, and I will not be subjected to such humiliation from anyone. Especially my stuck-up, hen-pecked, annoying, little brother!”

She tossed her long blond hair and glared at the tall man in front of her, daring him to challenge he will.

He dared.

“I’m not so much a spy as protection,” he told her affably, smiling at her. She opened her mouth, but was speechless at his impudence. She stared at him as he grinned at her, his eyes impassive, but she suspected him of laughing at her from behind the mask.

She remembered him from that meeting about her brother a few days ago. How he’d lied to her father’s face as well as his commanding officer’s. She remembered how he had winked at her, as if they were old friends. She had been amazed at his nerve, and now realized he wasn’t brave, just stupid.

She was about to chew him out, so that he was at her knees, begging for mercy as she destroyed him emotionally and physically, but then she paused, realizing his grin seemed more familiar than even just those few minutes allowed.

“I know you, don’t I?”

His grin grew, “The name’s Lex, and we met when we were ten…Lonnie.”
*~*~*

Rath lay, his wife asleep on his chest, and he listened to her labored breathing with a sense of panic. She had taken herself and Ryley to the healer’s this afternoon and he had said they just had a cold, but…

They weren’t getting better. If anything, they seemed to be getting worse. He stroked her hair back, and kissed her fevered brow. She was burning up, and he felt helpless. He was a warrior, he was supposed to protect people, but he couldn’t even keep his own wife and son safe.

A thin wail came from the other room and Rath gently put his wife on her side of the bed, tucking her in tightly. Then he headed through the open doors to his son’s room.

Ryley had finally gotten to sleep an hour ago, and Rath had hoped he’d sleep through the night. But obviously not. “Hey little man,” he whispered, lifting his crying son out of the crib, “What’s the matter?”

He cradled him gently and rocked him, yet the whimpering didn’t abate. Rath walked him around the room, humming Ria’s lullaby underneath his breath. Ryley gave a little hiccup and stopped crying.

Rath breathed a sigh of relief and went to put his son back in his cradle. Then he realized his son wasn’t making any noises, he wasn’t moving at all. “Ryley?” He looked down at the tiny, still body, and began to panic. “Ryley?” He started resuscitation, pumping firmly but gently onto the tiny chest and breathing for him. “Please,” he begged, “Please!”

But his son didn’t start breathing again, and Rath stayed there, kneeling with the baby’s chilling body in his arms, numb.

“NOOOOOO!”
*~*~*

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