« on: June 12, 2019, 09:17:08 PM »
"It will not be water," she promised, rolling her eyes at his comment. Gathering together her supplies, she rose, quick to put them to one side to be dealt with another time, and investigated the carafes set aside for them. Spiced wine was warmed gently before she served it into goblets, bringing him his drink before daring to sit on the bed beside him once again.
He remained silent while she poured the wine, silently admiring this beauty that had somehow come to be his; silently thanking the goddess for all she had given him. He held out a rough hand, callused fingers closing around the goblet as he took if from her. He did not bother to pat the place at his side, as she had already decided to claim it, just as she was quickly claiming his heart. The thought of that made him smile, too.
"Do you think Leyla will be happy for us, hanim?" he asked, lifting his goblet in salute of his new wife.
Sipping her wine, Sasha considered her answer before giving it. She had not forgotten his harsh view of her former harem-sister, a little troubled that anyone could see such venom in someone she had always known as sweet and kind.
"Happy but envious, I think," she offered. "She longs to be a wife, now that she cannot be the king's."
"There are plenty of other men who can take her to wife," Idris pointed out, before taking a swallow of his wine. As for Nasir and Ezra and Idris, they and their hearts were all spoken for. He was sure Nasir - or more accurately, Shahista - would find matches for all the women, but he was grateful he'd been able to make his own choice. "I have a feeling Nasir was hoping for this all along." Not only Nasir, but Safi and Shahista, as well. "I wonder if they hope to domesticate me," he said with a laugh.
"She wanted you," Sasha mused, looking into her cup. "But since we have already had one poisoning attempted in the palace, I do not think she would ever consider going quite that far to get you." She giggled quietly, looking back to him. "I do not believe you can be domesticated," she assured him. "Broken to the saddle, perhaps."
"I am not so important or powerful as the king," Idris pointed out, that that was not entirely true. He was, arguably, the second or third most powerful man in all of Valentia now, but he did not think in terms of power, only duty.
"You have the loyalty of the army," she pointed out. "You are, arguably, the most powerful man in the country, should you choose to wield that might against your king. But you are a good man, and a good friend. Nasir is lucky to have you with him."
His expression darkened at her suggestion, if only for a moment, before realizing she meant nothing by it. "Nasir is my brother, if not in blood, than in spirit. Anyone who thinks to use me against him would be a fool," he said, not in warning but as a simple point of fact. Something had happened in the past that had bound the three men together, but as of yet, none had spoken what that was.
She stared at him, aware of what he had thought before she finished speaking. "Do you believe me to be so disloyal as to grab for power over the bodies of the two people I consider my family more than any other?" she asked him bluntly.
He blinked, his expression softening. "No, not you. Never you. But there are others," he said, remembering the rage he had felt as he'd helped slaughter Nasir's enemies. He'd hung their heads upon the gates in warning to any others who might do the same and had paid for his loyalty with a wound in his side, but that had not been Nasir's doing. "It is not over yet, Sasha. Not until those who plot against us have been utterly defeated."
"I do not know much of how it all works, but I would assume that the Pomeran alliance will move on Lotharingia when the next season for war arrives," Sasha mused thoughtfully. "Next year, perhaps. It does not give us much time to secure our borders and the loyalty of our people."
"No, and we must be ready to stand with our Pomeran allies," Idris said, pausing to take another gulp of his wine. "But this is our wedding night, and we should not be talking about war," he added, dismissing the subject, not because he did not think her capable but because he did not find it a pleasant topic of discussion, given present company.
"And what else do you think will be happening on our wedding night, commander?" she asked in amusement, leaning back on one hand as she sipped her wine. Her dark eyes watched him over the rim of the cup, glad that she was relaxing into his company once again.
"Sleeping, no doubt," he replied, with a twinkle as his own dark eyes regarded hers. "Unless ..." he murmured, taking the goblet of wine from her and turning to set both goblets aside, for now. "Do you trust me, Sasha?" he asked, that bearded smirk of his lighting up his whole face.
Wariness lit up her eyes as he took her goblet from her, pushing herself to sit up once again in the face of his twinkling smirk. "I do not want you to harm yourself, koca."
"I will not harm myself, nor will I break your vow," he promised, though she had not yet answered his question. He touched her chin, tipping her face to meet his gaze. "Answer me, hanim. Do you trust me?"
What a question to ask her. They had known one another barely more than a day, yet she had married him when he asked her. There must be trust there, somewhere. Sasha looked into his eyes, her nervousness plain on her face. "Yes," she said, as confidently as she could. "I do."
He smiled, pleased with her answer. She must have trusted him a little to have agreed to marry him, and yet he preferred to ask, rather than assume. "Lie back and relax," he urged her, as he shifted to his knees at her feet. "If you cannot bear it, tell me to stop," he warned her, though his goal was to give her pleasure, not pain.
"What are you doing?" she asked, frowning in confusion even as she obediently lay back. She lifted her head to look at him. "I thought men were not supposed to kneel before their women."
"I assure you it is entirely for your benefit," he told her, his hands moving beneath her nightgown to find her legs, an almost lecherous smile on his face, knowing something she did not. He had not even kissed her yet, yet in his eagerness to please her, he dared touch her in such an intimate way.
She gasped, startled to find his hands slipping beneath the silk that covered her to brush against her legs. The calluses from years of weapons' use felt strangely erotic against the softness of her skin, sending a flushed ripple through her body as she bit her lip, trying not to tense up too much. "I-I don't know what to do."