A scene came to me last night while I worked on Saran’s book. I’ve wanted to do a brief peek at characters before but then I end up writing more and more and more and…well you get it 🙂 Somehow I managed to stop myself this time with a nice slice of the Warlords or rather the Overlord.
**My editor did not proof this, apologies in advance for all errors. LOL**
Life with the Warlords-peek 1
For the first time in days, Vaan had a free moment. Although he would have liked to spend the time with his mate, Mikayla had already promised to be with her friends. Unwilling to let his Warlords see him without purpose, he decided to go riding.
He winced at the shouted cry but came to a halt outside the newly redone stable. Kavan and Balal waited for his acknowledgment before leaving. Vaan lowered himself to a crouch and braced for the one-two hug from his youngling. Erana and Arane slammed into his chest, their tiny arms going around his neck. Fortunately he maintained his balance and curved his arms to enclose both as he returned the embrace.
The twins retained their chokehold on him but pulled back to smile. The small faces grew more and more like their mother every day save for the eyebrows and eyelashes which they’d inherited from him.
“You go ride?” Erana asked, her fangs causing a slight lisp.
“Want to go riding!” Arane demanded, her voice the opposite of her sibling’s softer tones.
Vaan considered the logistics of riding with the both of them. It would be difficult but not impossible. Then he thought of Mikayla’s reaction if she discovered his actions. She worried for their safety and though he hid it well, Vaan held the same feelings.
He considered asking for his Warlords Balal and Kavan to assist since both were charged with the care and protection of his youngling. Then decided against it. Today he would give them all of his attention.
“Perhaps we can take the hapfe out another day.”
Their lower lips quivered and bright green eyes stared at him in dismay. His chest pinched tight and their combined misery played on the weakness he held for them.
Erana, ever sensitive, noted the change in him. She patted his cheek, her chubby fingers leaving dotted stickiness behind. “Father sad?”
She switched to the Kaban language smoothly. Everyone used Standard to speak if necessary but Vaan learned the Raasa tongue for his mate and she learned his as well. As a result both girls spoke Kaban and Raasa, sometimes mixing the two.
“Sad?” He snorted and kissed her brow before deepening his voice. “I am the Overlord. There is no sad.”
Her giggles were music to his ears. He set them gently on their feet and took a hand in each of his to lead the way to the stables. Arane tugged on his fingers, skipping and running along side him.
For the first time since she could walk, she didn’t have her sword. “Arane, you are without your weapon today. A good warrior stays prepared.”
The admonishment slowed her down. Her dark head drooped and her toes kicked at the ground. “Nessian laughed.”
Vaan released their hands and reached over them to open the doors. The fresh smell of fur and sweat billowed out. He ignored the pungent odor and nudged them inside, never taking his gaze from his usually fearless youngling. “This laughter bothered you?”
Nessian was daughter to one of the servants at the Raasa compound and slightly older. Her father excelled at archery and showed moderate skill with the sword, a rarity among the reptilian people.
Erana tugged on his leather pants when Arane failed to answer. “Warriors are all males.”
Vaan stopped at the first hapfe stall they reached. She spoke truth. Females were to be protected by a warrior. He studied his youngling’s downcast expression. At least in Kaban.
The sudden answer to why the laughter bothered her came through clearly. Anger kindled in his gut. He smoothed a hand over Arane’s night black hair. “Nessian says you can not be a warrior?”
Her weight pressed against his lower leg as she leaned against him and nodded. Dejection hung about her like an ugly stain. This he would not allow. Vaan went to one knee and grasped her chin to tip her face up. Tears welled but did not fall. Strong, brave and ever fierce was this youngling of his.
“Hmm, what did you do when she said this?”
“W-walked away,” her voice trembled as she answered.
Vaan nodded. “Honor often requires strength of character. I am proud of you, Arane. You will be a true Kabanian warrior some day.”
Tears vanished and a determined glow lit her diamond pupils. “Truth?”
He pounded his fist to his chest with his free hand in a gesture he knew she’d witnessed many times from the Warlords who made their home in Raasa with him. “Only truth between warriors.”
She jumped forward, the force of her hug knocking him on his backside. Erana laughed and dove on top. As he rolled about the stable floor with them, Vaan reminded himself to keep an eye on their hearts more. Their emotional well being was as important to him as their physical.