“A wedding? Who mentioned anything about getting married?” Two shocks in one night, the second one almost robbing Owen of the shock of the kiss, almost but not quite. “You’re not serious about getting married are you Rhya? I am not sure that i am the marrying type you know.”
Well this was a pretty pickle that Owen found himself in. The idea of marriage had never crossed his mind in his life. It had not been something he had discussed with Iris or that she had wanted and that was the only serious relationship he had had. Making his way over to the rail that ran around their balcony Owen lent on it and looked out over the darkened forest in front of him. The sounds of the night creatures drifted up to him, the bark of a fox as it went about its nightly business.
Owen was not sure how long he had stood there before he became aware of Rhya’s hand covering his, but when he did he slowly with drew his hand and placed his arm around Rhya, drawing her close. For a while they stood there, arms entwined. The nightly noises offered up an almost soothing back drop to their companionable silence, and so they enjoyed the peace and quiet, soaking it in. “I suppose you have your heart set on getting married, even if it is only to me?”There was only a slightly self depreciating tone to Owen’s voice, one that he would more than likely never lose. “You know, i have never given marriage the slightest bit of thought. Ten years ago no one would look at me twice, unless it was to order me out of their village or town. Finding someone who wanted to be with me is still new now, even after Iris, it is not something that i thought would happen.”
Spinning Rhya around until she faced him, Owen held her gaze, tracing the outline of her face in the moonlight with his eyes then on an impulse he reached up with his hand and slowly caressed the side of her face, letting his fingers run up and down her smooth skin. As his fingers got near her mouth she playfully tried to bite them and hold them with her teeth. While she held the fingers in her mouth her eyes turned towards Owens and he could see the mischievous smile there. Slowly he pulled his fingers away and replaced them with his lips, this time the kiss lasted longer, and it was a close run thing as to who was the more breathless when they did eventually break from it.
Wake Up! Shake dreams from your hair, little one. Attn Rhya
Posted 30 June 2009 - 10:14 AM
“A wedding? Who mentioned anything about getting married?” Two shocks in one night, the second one almost robbing Owen of the shock of the kiss, almost but not quite. “You’re not serious about getting married are you Rhya? I am not sure that i am the marrying type you know.”
Posted 03 July 2009 - 12:04 AM
When they finally did break off, Rhya’s eyes filled with suppressed mirth and catching her breath, she picked up the conversation with a husky laugh, noting in satisfaction that Owen seemed no more steady than she was, “I would suggest, my love, that if you intend to make a habit of that, thinking about a wedding now would be a very good idea.” Burrowing closer again, she rested her head against his chest, revelling in the difference in their heights. She was tall enough for a woman that it made rather a novel change to feel more diminutive. Her tone became more solemn as she continued, “I don’t wish to bring any dishonour to my family or to my name... so yes, I suppose I do have my heart set on marriage. Not because it is only to you but because it is to you.” Rhya’s arms tightened possessively. “I would have the whole world know we belong together and be more than proud to have your name added properly to mine.”
She shifted a little tilting her head upwards and grazed her teeth in a playful nip against the hollow at the base of his throat then soothed the skin with a soft kiss, feeling the pulse beating there. “I will bind you to me with whatever ties I can... but... still... I do not wish you to agree if it would make you unhappy.” Rhya pulled back once more, searching his expression carefully as she tried to project all the love she had held in for so long. “I’m going nowhere whatever you decide.” A teasing grin eased across her face as she uttered a mock threat, uncaring that the effect was rather ruined by the wicked glint her eyes, “You are mine now Ranger man. All hope of escape is fruitless.”
Posted 03 July 2009 - 08:52 AM
Honour could be both a shield and a weakness. To live up to one’s perceived honour could result in actions that could be both misunderstood and reviled. However, protecting another’s honour can only bring respect and gratitude, when the cause of that honour is noble. Rhya had manoeuvred Owen rather deftly to the point where she knew, or hoped she knew, that he would act in an honourable way. It was not like she had done it deliberately, or even planned it this way. However, that is the path Rhya had set both herself and Owen on. Whether it was a path they could both walk would remain to be seen. The first steps had been taken, and although neither of them knew where these first steps would lead them, they had taken them willingly and without any preconceptions or aims. For now, the innocence of the moment enveloped them and would sustain them.
“I don’t wish to bring any dishonour to my family or to my name... so yes, I suppose I do have my heart set on marriage. Not because it is only to you but because it is to you.” He felt her arms tighten around his waist rather possessively. “I would have the whole world know we belong together and be more than proud to have your name added properly to mine.”
Owen, wisely he thought, kept silent in response to Rhya’s remark about name changing. For now she could believe what she wanted to, but she would have to do an awful lot of persuading for him to change his name to hers. It was not that there was anything wrong with Rhya’s name, but Owen had been denied his own name for so long, that he had a fierce loyalty to his surrogate mother and the “name” she had provided for him.
“I will bind you to me with whatever ties I can... but... still... I do not wish you to agree if it would make you unhappy.” Rhya pulled back looking up at him. “I’m going nowhere whatever you decide.” A teasing grin eased across her face, “You are mine now Ranger man. All hope of escape is fruitless.”
Owen’s laughter rang true and clear across the forest at intent of Rhya’s words. “What makes you think it is escape that is uppermost in my mind Rhya? Mayhap it is you that will find yourself the captive, and we will see then if you want to escape.” Chuckling quietly to himself Owen watched the expression change on Rhya’s face.
“Say what you will Owen, I am just happy to be with you. We can decide later who is the captive and who............” The rest of Rhya’s sentence was cut short as Owen kissed her again.
This is not an unpleasant way of keeping her quiet, i should have tried it earlier.
When they broke apart yet again, Rhya saw the amusement on Owen’s face. “And what is so funny Ranger man? A kiss with your beloved is hardly reason for amusement.”
“I was just thinking that I had found a perfect way to keep you quiet that does not require a gag.”
Posted 04 July 2009 - 09:03 AM
As she spoke, Rhya turned in Owen’s embrace, pulling his arms around her and resting her head back against his shoulder. Part of her was disquieted by his lack of response on the subject of marriage and she was never going to be able to think clearly if he kept distracting her with kisses.
Silence enveloped them and Rhya’s gaze rose above the treetops to the velvet midnight blue of the sky with its veil of gleaming stars. A pale sliver of light hung just above the horizon. A Knife Moon, the crescent was called in Saldaea. She had once heard it called 'the moon of dreams.' Which will it be tonight? A dream coming true, or a knife destroying that same dream? she wondered breathing deeply of the cool air, not minding the chill edge to it. She was tired in spite of her elation but knew that sleep was as far off as dawn.
She could just imagine her parents’ reactions were they ever to discover that she’d set up home with no lawfully binding marriage vows and her lips curved slowly in a rueful smile. She was fairly certain she could live with the lack… but was aware enough of her own character to realise that it would still always be an omission that would cause her no small amount of shame. Can I settle for less in return than I am prepared to give of myself? The question plagued her. It would be a constant contradiction of something that was particularly important to her. Eventually she realised that, no matter what came of it, she had to continue as she’d started, with complete honesty.
“As I got older,” she began, “I was … troubled… by the inequality in my parents’ marriage. My mother was… well, she was afraid of my father, afraid of losing something by standing up to him. I suspect she loved his money rather than him. Mother isn’t from Saldaea and perhaps that was a part of it, but she always struck me as weak. Either way, she took and gave little in return.” She sighed lightly, trying carefully to explain something that was at once simple and very complicated. “It shouldn’t be that way. A partnership of any kind should be on equal footing and I know you agree with that. If one gives or takes more than the other, it can breed resentment or end with a lack of support or any manner of other problems.” She shook her head, lacking the correct words to express what was in her heart and tried another tack. “Perhaps… if you could tell me why you would not wish to take such vows? I might understand it better.”
Posted 04 July 2009 - 09:42 AM
“Then when i left my home to make my way in the world, i found out that prejudice was not something that was confined to the people of my village. I slept wet and cold more nights than i can remember. Even when i found a place to stay, sooner or later and usually sooner, i would be chased out of there, if i was lucky.” Suddenly Owen broke their embrace and pulling his shirt up he turned away from Rhya.” The marks you see are the legacy from various punishments i had to endure, the last of which left me near death. So i am sure you can understand why i have never felt part of the world you knew with its rituals. Being on the outside looking in has left me with a lot of anger for the values two-legs seem to govern their lives by.” Owen slipped his shirt back over his shoulders and then turned to face Rhya again, his face a mask of neutrality. “It is not what the vows mean that bothers me, it is what they represent. A world that turned its back on me from a very early age and then when this happened.” Owen pointed his finger at his eyes. “All it did was give them even more reason to hate. Even after we fought and died in defence of Emonds Field, there was still two-legs that did not trust us and wanted to hand us over to the blasted Lightcloaks.” Owen’s voice gave out there; he did not want to dredge up any more painful memories on a night that had become almost magical. But there was one last thing he had to say, and if he did not say it now he was not sure he would have the desire to mention it again.
“However, this ritual is important to you, and of course your honour.” A small smile spread across his as he said this. “So i could not be so churlish as to demand you abandon what is important to you. Could we not work out something that is acceptable to both of us? Something that is ours, and not tainted by any outside influences?”
Owen hoped that this would help her understand the reasons for his lack of enthusiasm for marriage. Rhya had lived a very different life to Owens and he was not sure she would be able to comprehend just how much the events of his formative years had scarred him, both figuratively and literally.
Posted 05 July 2009 - 09:45 PM
Unexpectedly, he pulled away and she turned sharply. The objection on Rhya’s lips died unspoken when her gaze landed on his back, however, and she merely stared at the tracery and scarring there, horror clear in her eyes. A hand half raised, reaching out to touch the spider’s web of markings but became instead a tightly clenched fist as earlier anger turned to pure molten rage.
She would, naturally, have been upset no matter whom was treated so. Rhya had not a vindictive bone in her body, her sense of honour applying not just to herself but to every situation and every person she came into contact with. To her mind, not even her own worst enemy or the lowest criminal deserved such torture but rather a clean fight, a just punishment or a quick death if necessary. That anyone could have treated Owen so had her gritting her teeth and laying her hands on her daggers instinctively… a reaction only inflamed by the emotionless expression he presented her with when he faced her once more. She knew he was anything but emotionless behind that thin façade and knew, moreover, that her anger was futile. It came long after the event, too long to make any difference or alter the effects and she struggled to bring it under control until it was only a smoldering knot in her stomach, to be dealt with another time.
She was no longer surprised by his repugnance to the idea of marriage. Indeed, she was more surprised at his forebearance in letting her speak of it at all, instead of uttering an outright refusal to even consider it. Churlish? Rhya almost gaped at Owen in disbelief as she took in his final questions. How could he possibly manage to find fault in himself for responding in a way that any sane human would blame him not in the slightest for? She shook her head, swallowing past the lump of emotion in her throat as he smiled and just looked at him in wonder. She was well aware that she could never truly comprehend the depth of the impact such events had had on him but she could at least understand intellectually why he felt as he did. Yet he had just gone against his own instincts and all but agreed... for her sake.
That simple fact both delighted and distressed her in equal amounts. Unable to respond immediately, she did the next best thing, flinging her arms tightly around him and holding on as though her life depended on it. Perhaps it did. Silently, Rhya made some vows of her own in the name of the Light before easing back and replying quietly, “We can find a way. There is neither need for ritual nor for outside taints. We will do only what is necessary for it to be lawful. For the rest... we will find our own path to walk.”
Posted 05 July 2009 - 11:54 PM
Trying to understand or predict fate would be enough to cause a headache of such proportions that the only thing to do would be to lie down in a darkened room and wait for it to pass. Events happened for whatever the reason was, and all anyone could do, is survive them and try to come out unscathed. “I do not know about you, but i feel the need to be away from here for a while. Why don’t you go and grab a couple of blankets and a towel and meet me at the bottom of the tree. While you are doing that i will lower Ice and Shadow to the ground.” Rhya turned to go into the house but stopped when Owen continued talking. “Oh and you might want to bring a change of clothes.”
“A change of clothes ,Owen? What do you have in mind?”
“You just go and get what you need Rhya, trust me on this one you will enjoy what i have in mind.” Owen grinned at her and watched her as she walked into the house before turning away and getting on with his own chores.
Owen led them away from the Stedding and further into the foothills of the Mountains of Mist. Although there was no clear path, it was obvious that this route had been used before, to Owen’s trained eye it looked like a well worn path, and as they walked hand in hand, Owen talked to Rhya about the little tell tale signs that indicated others had come this way.
Cresting the rise in the path, Owen stopped for a moment to enjoy the serenity of the scene in front of them. The moonlight bathed the small dell in a silvery light, even the water in the pool had a silvery glaze to it and there was an almost ethereal feel to the place. “Well was it worth the walk Rhya? And the best is yet to come; come on the last one in to the water gets to scrub the others back.”
“If you think i am going swimming in a freezing cold pond Owen you have become bereft of your senses.”
Rhya smelt of determination and wariness, which only made Owen smile all the more. “Do you really think i am that light blinded that i would expect you to freeze your toes off? The water is heated from below by the heat from the rocks. Even in the dead of winter this pool does not freeze and as long as you keep all your body but your head under the water you would be fine, trust me. “Owen winked at Rhya before racing off down the path, pulling at his shirt and breeches as he went.
Posted 06 July 2009 - 12:35 AM
She easily found a slight outcropping of rock, jutting conveniently over the edge of the water and paused, a mischievous half smile crossing her face as she watched Owen swim. She’d heard of hot springs and pools heated from the earth but had never actually experienced it first hand. Strangely enough, for an idea that might seem insane to many, she found the thought of swimming at night appealed strongly to her. It had been a long day and, in some ways, an even longer evening and this just might soothe away the last of the stresses that still lingered.
The water was smooth at her feet, disturbed only by a few ripples and Rhya noticed that the stars were reflected there as though in a mirror. Mesmerised, she slowly peeled off her trousers, throwing them behind her uncaring of exactly where they landed then grasped the bottom of her shirt, raising her arms to tug it over head and stood poised for a split second before diving cleanly into the water. Owen had been right, it was delightfully warm and with no shocking chill to deal with, Rhya aimed for a spot behind him, using her momentum to surface quickly and push down on his shoulders suddenly, for once catching him unawares. As he went under, she let go and flipped over, making strong strokes for the far side of the pool before he had a chance to recover, her laughter ringing through night air and echoing off the rock face behind them.
For the first time in many months, there was no weight pressing on her, nothing to spoil the moment and she flipped again, to float on her back so she could see the moon. “It’s magical...a truly enchanting place.”
Posted 06 July 2009 - 01:00 AM
His train of thought was completely disrupted by the sight of Rhya removing her clothes with what seemed like total abandon. When she was naked she stood for a moment, stretching, and the moonlight rippled across her body. Whether she knew it or not, Owen thought it was one of the most erotic sights he had ever seen. Rhya had a wide eyed innocence about her, that was tempered by recent events, and that only added to her allure.
Swallowing the lump that had suddenly appeared in his throat, Owen tore his gaze away from Rhya, if he continued to stare at her she would think he had never seen a woman naked before. Get a grip on yourself you stone brained idiot. This is not the time to be thinking like that, this is a time to show her your love, not your passion.
It did not take Rhya long to swim across to Owen and soon he felt her fingers working away at the knots in his back. At first she was hesitant; obviously the scar tissue took some getting used to. However, the more she worked at it the more pressure she used.
“It’s magical...a truly enchanting place.”
Rhya’s voice drifted across the stillness of the dell, but did not disturb the peace of the place. Owen had not realised before just how good Rhya’s voice sounded, well apart from when she was scolding him. She had a gentle lilt to her voice, and at this moment it seemed in perfect harmony with their surroundings. “Yes it is Rhya; it is one of my favourite spots in the forest. Seclusion is something that has an appeal all of its own.” Owen turned around to face Rhya, his arms easily sliding around her body and pulling her closer to him. “You know, i think i could get used to this, it has been so long since i felt this way, i had almost forgotten what it feels like to share with another.”
“Well don’t get too relaxed, it is your turn to scrub my back now.” With a mischievous glint in her eye, Rhya slipped out of Owen’s arms and turned her back to him, obviously not caring how much skin she exposed.
Posted 06 July 2009 - 01:48 AM
It didn’t cross her mind to think anything more of it until she felt his hands on her back and shoulders, returning her favour of moments before. Then, unbidden, her mind threw up a memory of finding Owen in his bathtub and she sighed softly, realising at last just why she had reacted as violently as she had and what precisely had made her uncomfortable. And that same feeling is alive and well now, she acknowledged ruefully, her skin prickling with awareness.
She was about to voice her revelation but paused. Another thing he has no memory of. The slight sadness that thought brought was washed away though as Owen’s hands did their work… possibly a little too well as she found breathing decidedly difficult. Not all of the heat could be blamed on the water but she was fairly sure she might be capable of melting herself if she allowed that to continue.
She turned quickly, quirking an eyebrow and planted a kiss cheekily on the tip of his nose then flopped backwards, chuckling at the splash she caused and swimming away towards the cliff.
“There’s a ledge up there,” she called back quietly, pointing. “Is the water deep enough to dive from that height?”
Posted 06 July 2009 - 02:07 AM
Deftly she made her way across the damp rocks to the ledge she had indicated and stood balancing on her toes, her arms raised above her head, and her still damp body glistening even more in the moon light. With one swift movement she pushed off with her legs and her body described a graceful arc as flew away from the ledge. Rhya was definitely a sight to behold, and Owen counted himself very fortunate to be in the position he was.
The splash of water brought Owen’s mind back to his current situation and as Rhya surfaced he swam across to her, his smile matching hers. “Are you sure you are not part fish my love?” Laughing he held her in his arms, his fingers gently caressing the skin of her lower back, moving in small circles. The softness of her skin contrasted sharply with his own and Owen felt he could continue touching her for the rest of his life.
“It would be so nice to just stay here and not have to deal with the .......” The rest of Owen’s sentence was lost as Rhya kissed him. “This is our time Owen; let’s not spoil it by worrying about matters that we have no control over. They will be dealt with in their own time and not in ours.”
Owen wiped away a trickle of water from Rhya’s face and gently kissed her eyelids and then her lips. “How did you get to be so wise Rhya?”
Posted 08 July 2009 - 09:22 PM
“It would be so nice to just stay here and not have to deal with the... ”
Rhya’s kiss cut the sentence off short, not so much because she was trying to silence Owen as because she simply wanted to. The result was satisfying on both counts just the same and she took the opportunity to remind him that there was little point to worrying over what they could not control.
“How did you get to be so wise Rhya?”
“I’m not so certain it’s wisdom as merely a practical nature,” she answered thoughtfully, considering the question in all seriousness. “Between my father’s attention to training me for the business and the time I spent with my grandmother... who was very wise... they made certain I would be nobody’s fool and as capable as possible. Family businesses in Saldaea come to the eldest child by right you see. My path, then at least, was set from the day I was born. My sister had the luxury of being flighty and mother indulged that dreadfully. Though, I must admit, I do not believe it was ever in my nature to be that way, even had I been given the opportunity,” she paused and wrinkled her nose. “Mother said I was too prone to dark moods and being solitary. I was a severe disappointment to her.”
Rhya looked away briefly, attempting to cover what was an old pain and one that could not be rectified. If there had been any lack in her life, it had been knowing that her mother loved her not at all and in spite of the full measure of her father’s care, it was the one thing she wished for in her darkest moments. She shook her head in dismissal, brushing the matter off and smiled up at Owen. “But that was then and this is now... and I’m sure it is not my supposed wisdom that is occupying...”
The sentence was lost in a cascade of water that would have drenched them both had they not already been in the pool. It was accompanied by a loud splash to Rhya’s right that had her laughing and spluttering, as she knew immediately what had happened.
“Shadow!!! Burn me... but you might... have done that... a little further away!” she choked out wiping water from her face as a cold nose touched her neck.
That would not be as good, cub. You are happy. I share that with you. The message Rhya took from the images the dark wolf sent caused further gales of laughter.
“Yes I am happy,” she agreed, glancing at Owen, her eyes dancing merrily at this new predicament, “but how in the Light are we going to get you out of here again?”
Posted 15 July 2009 - 08:12 AM
“I would suggest that is between you and Shadow Rhya. But i doubt he jumped in here without knowing how to get himself out. Wolves are many things, and young adult wolves often do unexplainable things, but i do not think Shadow is like that. He is too much like his sister. Talking of which i wonder where she is?” Owen was not concerned about the lack of Ice’s presence, she was often absent for long periods of time. However it was unusual for her not to be here with her brother. “No doubt she has found an interesting scent and is running it down as we sit here; she will be back when she is ready.”
Owen watched as Shadow and Rhya played in the water, it was obvious that a real bond had grown between them and Owen hoped it stayed like that for a long time. Ice and Shadow had been with him for a long time now, and he did not know how he would cope if either of them were ever killed. It would be just as hard for Rhya if anything happened to Shadow now they had bonded.
“If you are finished cavorting with Shadow Rhya i think it is time we made our way home. Or would you prefer to stay here all night and make our way back in the daylight?”
Before Rhya had a chance to respond Owen glanced up at the night sky, his eyes registering something, but he was at first unable to make out exactly what it was. Then something landed on his cheek and he realised right away that it had started to snow. “Will this bloody weather ever change? Come on Rhya the last thing we need is to get caught out here in a snow storm and with the way the weather has been recently i think it a fair chance that this snow will not be a light sprinkling.” With that Owen swam over to the bank and boosted himself out of the water. Turning around he knelt down and offered his hand to help Rhya out. At the same time Shadow swam over to the far bank and managed to scramble out of the water, although in the most inelegant manner.
Owen pulled Rhya out of the water and she just seemed to fall into his waiting arms. The next thing Rhya registered was the feel of a cold wet nose on her thigh. She tried to push Shadow away, but he kept up his insistence until Owen and Rhya had to break apart. “I think he is trying to tell us this is no time to be standing here wet and naked. Not when we have a warm house where this would be much more to our liking.” Grinning at Rhya Owen looked around to get his bearings and then disentangled himself from Rhya’s arms and started to collect his clothing.
Posted 22 July 2009 - 10:59 PM
The unexpected snowfall delighted her though, light as it still was, the gossamer flakes landing like a silvery coronet on the water-slicked darkness of her hair. As they entered the deeper forest near the tree house, the silence thickened, a hush lying over everything as the snow deadened all sounds and shrouded the landscape in an ever thickening blanket of white.
Rhya glanced sidelong at Owen and tried hard not to let the laughter she was suppressing sound in her voice as she commented, “We had better get you inside really quickly.”
“Why would that be?” his return look was bland enough that she knew he was expecting some smart comment.
Her face split in a mischievous grin as she took to her heels, throwing her parting line over her shoulder, “Because if this snow gets any heavier it will be nigh on impossible to find you in it!”
Posted 12 September 2010 - 02:05 PM