Kiss the Darkness Ch. 01

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Eighteen years later

Amos grabbed Christian’s horse by the reins. “Let’s be sensible about this. What is running away going to accomplish?”

Christian narrowed his eyes. “Kindly release my horse.” He sneered.

Amos sighed. “Not until you’ve come to your senses.”

“I’m not running away.” Christian told his friend. “”I’m simply making myself unavailable.”

Amos smirked. “That sounds like running to me.”

“Call it what you want but I’m not walking into that banquet hall and I am most certainly not going to marry some girl that I’ve never even met!”

Amos shrugged. “I hear she’s quite lovely.”

“Then you marry her.”

Amos laughed. “Oh, would that I could. Alas, I fear the lady is suited for someone of higher stature.”

“Then father can give her hand to my brother. He’s a Prince as well. I’m sure they would be perfectly suited for each other.”

Amos nodded. “Yes, Leland is a prince, but he’s not the next in line to be King.”

Christian rolled his eyes. “The idea that I need a Queen just to be King is ludicrous. How can anyone expect me to marry someone I’ve never met? I know nothing about her. How do I know that she’ll even like me, or that I’ll like her? How am I supposed to fall in love with a complete stranger?”

“You’re assuming that love is an option?”

Christian raised an eye brow, “Shouldn’t it be?”

Amos shrugged. “I think it’s more of a luxury.”

“And that’s the problem. When I marry it should be for love, not because I’m expected to, or because my father wishes it. I want to have a choice in the matter, and I want to marry someone that I chose, not someone that’s been chosen for me.”

“So what are you going to do? You can’t just avoid your father for the rest of his life. Eventually you’ll have to go back.”

Christian nodded. “Eventually, but not today.” He gave Amos a devious grin, pulled the reins from his friends hands and took off.

“Very Mature!” Amos yelled after him. “Come on.” He told his horse. At once the horse began to run after the Prince.

They raced up the hill, around a large boulder, and then Christian veered off the dirt road into the grass. Amos followed, trying desperately to keep up though his horse was not as fast as Christians.

Christian laughed when he looked back and saw how far behind Amos was. “You’ll never catch me.” He called back to him. “Not when we were children and not now!”

“You’ll be lucky if I don’t shoot you!” Amos frowned.

Again Christian laughed. “You’re aims never been that great either.”

Amos rolled his eyes. Of course Christian was correct. Archery had never been Amos’s strong suit, Christian was much better. In fact, he was better in almost everything. Amos had always dreamed of joining the King’s guard but at the rate he was going, he’d be cleaning the stables, or polishing swords.

Amos sighed with relief as Christian slowed. They had come to the edge of Fells Forest. The dense copse of trees which marked the entrance of the forest made it impossible to rush in. Amos was certain that Christian would turn around and go back the way that they had come but to his surprise, Christian kicked at his horse and led it slowly into the thicket.

“For the love of the Gods.” Amos groaned under his breath. “Christian, what are you doing?”

“Exploring.” Christian called back.

Amos shook his head. The last thing he wanted to do was get lost in the forest but he had no other choice and so he followed the Prince.

Amos had no problem catching up. Christian was cautiously leading his horse through the maze of trees, deeper and deeper in. They had both been in the forest before, numerous times, but with a hunting party that consisted of experienced hunters who knew the woods well.

“Perhaps we should turn back.” Amos told the Prince. “Neither of us have ever gone this deep before.”

“Where’s your sense of adventure?” Christian asked.

“I never developed that particular sense.”

Christian smirked. “You can’t play it safe forever. You’ll miss out on too much.”

“I’m all for experiencing new things, though starving to death while roaming lost in the forest isn’t something I care to experience.”

“Don’t be a pussy.” Christian joked. “You’ll be safe at home, eating mutton by the fire, before you know it.”

Amos sighed. “Why I allow you to drag me into your drama I’ll never know.”

Christian grinned. “It’s your job.”

“Right, I almost forgot.”

christian sat on his horse, looking around at the grove of trees surrounding them. The thick branches above formed a canopy that shaded them from the bright sunlight above. Only small patches of light broke through, illuminating particles of dust in the air.

“Do you have any idea where we are?” Christian asked.

Amos shook his head. “Not a clue.”

“Hm.” Christian thought for a moment then dismounted. He took the horse by the reins and began to walk it cautiously between the trees that seemed to become larger the deeper they traveled.

“What are you doing now?” Eryaman Escort Amos asked, getting frustrated.

“I’m not sure.” Christian confessed. “I think I hear something.”

Amos raised an eye brow. “And…you’re walking towards the mysterious sound?”

“Curiosity has got the better of me I guess.”

“Curiosity killed the cat.”

Christian smirked. “Good thing I’m not a cat then.”

Amos dismounted as well and leading his horse, followed Christian through the forest. They walked for what seemed to Amos to be ages though his focus was more on the Prince then the time. Amos was responsible for Christian. He was responsible for his safety and at times, responsible for making sure he didn’t do something stupid. The latter was easier said then done. Christian had a drive inside him that well surpassed his reasoning and common sense.

He never had to look for trouble because it usually found him. He was fearless but his fearlessness could at times be considered reckless. This fact is what concerned Amos the most. While he wasn’t a coward by any stretch, he still chose to play things safe. Christian was the exact opposite. He chose to dive in head first and worry about the consequences later. At times, he could be a lot like his father, though he’d never admit it. There was a certain charm in his reckless nature though, something that Amos admired. To be honest, Amos had admired Christian most of his life, even as young children. It wasn’t because Christian was a Prince, or because he was next in line to be King.

Amos admired Christian because of his kindness, his ability to command the attention of a room without relying on threats or barking orders. The people respected him. They trusted him and believed in him, and Christian genuinely cared about the people. He didn’t treat people as though they were beneath him but rather as equals. With Amos, he had never referred to him as a servant, but rather his friend. Amos respected that about him. Though King Guillame felt that true power was to set oneself high above everyone else, Christian felt that his strength came from his people and that to walk among them, to talk with them, listen to them, and relate to them, was the greatest power of all.

Amos knew that Christian would one day make a great King. He just had to keep him alive long enough to take the throne.

Christian seemed fixated on the sound he’d claimed to have heard in the distance though he couldn’t really explain what it was. A soft ruffling, a splash of water, and the hint of laughter. Again Amos urged him to turn back less they happen upon trickster forest spirits, or fairy folk. Christian dismissed him as being childish, saying such things didn’t exist.

“Have you ever seen a sprite or wood nymph?” Christian asked.

“No, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any.”

“Just stories my friend. Stories mother’s tell their children to keep them from straying to far from home.”

“Well, I believe those stories. There are too many unexplained things in this world to be otherwise.”

Christian looked back at his friend and chuckled. “My great protector. You keep me safe from Fae and monsters alike. Perhaps we’ll get lucky and happen upon a unicorn instead.”

“Laugh all you want.” Amos smirked. “I’ll be laughing if one comes up and shoves it’s horn right up your arse.”

Both men laughed and joked as they continued walking, the mood becoming slightly less tense. Amos considered that Christian was right and he was being a bit overly cautious though he tried to validate it by remembering that it was job to keep an eye on the Prince and hopefully bring him back to the palace in one piece.

Just when Amos was starting to think that Christian’s imagination was the cause of the strange sound he heard, Christian stopped dead in his tracks.

“What is it?” Amos asked, sounding a bit alarmed.

“Listen.” Christian whispered. “Do you hear that?”

Amos strained his ears. At first, there was nothing. Only the sounds of the forest around them, then he heard it. It was the unmistakable sound of laughter.

“Who is that?” Christian asked.

Amos shook his head. “I have no idea, but we should go. Who ever or what ever it is, we don’t want to disturb them.”

Christian seemed not to hear Amos as he tied his horse off to a small tree and began to advance forward.

“Christian, don’t.” Amos pleaded with him but even he knew that it would do no good. The Prince was stubborn and he wouldn’t be satisfied until he’d discovered the origin of the mysterious laughter.

The trees broke away to reveal a small valley, completely shielded, from the outside, by the massive trees that surrounded it. Right in the middle of the valley Christian found a lake, more beautiful than anything he’d ever seen before in his life. The lake appeared as if by magic as he and Amos entered the clearing.

It sat, like a regal crown of nature and was ringed with majestic pines and the outcroppings of rock, sloped into the cool waters. Sincan Escort A sweet smell of sap clung to the air.

The surface of the water was silver and it mirrored the greens pines that enclosed it. The lake itself was heart-shaped; one side rising slightly higher than the other. The light from the noon sun leaked onto the water, adding a glint of gold to the face of the water. At first, no sound rang out from the shimmering purity of the surrounding area. It was truly something to behold, Like a beautiful, infinite dream.

There was a power in the tranquility and in the magnificent brilliance of the stillness, even as the water from a near-by water fall rushed over the rocks, kissing the pool beneath.

Amos was in awe as he stood beside Christian, the two of them taking in the scene that lay before them.

“Breathtaking.” Christian whispered. “Have you ever seen anything so…gorgeous?”

Amos was about to answer that no, he’d never seen anything quite like it before, but then he followed Christian’s gaze and saw that he wasn’t looking at the lake, but someone sitting atop a large rock, their feet dipped in the water as they kicked and giggled at the ripples forming around them.

Amos gripped Christian’s shoulder tightly as he watched the other at play. “Is it an imp? Or some type of water sprite?” He whispered, close to his friends ear.

Christian shook his head. “I told those things don’t exist. I think it’s just a boy. Just an ordinary boy.”

Amos looked closer. “You sure that’s a boy?”

Christian shrugged. “I assume so. He’s dressed like a man.”

“Could be a woman disguised as a man.”

“Could be.” Christian agreed. “We could stand here debating the issue or we could go up and introduce ourselves.”

“I’m not so sure that’s a good idea.” Amos said.

Christian stared at him. “Why the hell not?”

Amos frowned. “Because, my dear Prince, you have no idea who this person is, what he or she is doing here, and you have no idea if they are even alone! Suppose this person is just a decoy, meant to lure some young fool in and then a group of bandits jump out from within the trees. Things like this happen.”

Christian raised an eye brow. “Amos, do you have a sword?”

“Of course I do.” Amos laughed. “So do you.”

“Then what are you worried about?” Christian laughed. “If any bandits do attack we will slaughter them all.”

“You’re touched in the head Christian. We’re two men. How do you think we’d do against an entire gang?”

Again Christian shrugged. “Well, we won’t find out hiding here.” Before Amos could object, Christian pushed his way through the branches of the trees and stepped out into the bright light of the clearing.

The mysterious stranger was leaning back against the rock, their hair flowing back over their slender shoulders and gently brushing the grass. Christian smiled as he observed. The strangers face was illuminated by the sunlight as he or she tilted their head upwards. A gentle breeze blew passed, lifting the hair a bit as it swayed back and forth.

Christian couldn’t believe the exquisiteness of what he was looking at. Male or female this person had such an allure about them that Christian found himself mesmerized by their very presence.

He watched the sway of the jet black hair. The ivory smooth skin of the arms, brightly lit by the afternoon sun. The grace and elegance that the stranger possessed was that much more enticing. Finally Christian could contain himself no longer. He stepped to the edge of the lake, looking across the luster of the water to the person he was so eager to meet and without thinking blurted out the first thing that entered his mind.

“You there!” He called out to them. “Who are you?”

Immediately the mysterious beauty snapped their head around to stare at Christian and he suddenly realized that he’d made a great mistake in his abruptness.

The stranger pulled their feet in from the water and quickly slipped the boots on that had been laying in the grass near by. Within moments the stranger had jumped up and began to run towards the cover of the forest.

“Wait!” Christian called after. “Stop! Please! I just want to talk to you!”

His pleas went unanswered though as the stranger disappeared into the thicket. Christian didn’t hesitate to follow after. He ran as fast as his long legs could carry him, batting limbs and twigs out of the way as he gave chase. “Please, I mean you no harm. I just want to know who you are!”

“Damn it!” Amos cursed as he ran after the Prince. “Christian! For the love of the Gods, wait!”

He met up with the Prince in the midst of a large grove of trees. Christian was looking around in all directions. “Amos my friend, go the right, I’ll search left. We have to find that beauty.”

“Obviously who ever this person is does not wish to be found.” Amos said, panting from the long run. “Let’s abandoned this chase and return to the horses.”

“I can’t.” Christian looked at him and Amos could Etlik Escort see the seriousness in his eyes. “I have to know who that beauty is. I want their name and I don’t intend to leave without it.”

Amos was defeated. The only thing he could do now was find the mysterious stranger and hope that Christian would be satisfied with that. He went to the right and began walking through the grove of trees. “Hello?” He called out into the vast emptiness. “I know that you’re frightened. You didn’t expect us to happen upon you. Hell, we didn’t expect to happen upon you, but I assure you we are not dangerous.” He looked around, hoping to see any sign that the stranger was near. It seemed hopeless. The person was most certainly long gone but still he searched. He could hear Christian on the other side of the wood calling out as well. His pleas were becoming more and more desperate.

“My name is Amos.” He called out once more. “We’re from Avimur. Please don’t be alarmed. It’s not our intention to harm you.”

Amos sighed as he shook his head. “You probably think us mad.” He laughed to himself. “I know I would.” He had all but given up hope when heard a twig snap from somewhere up ahead.

“Hello?” He called out. “Are you there?”

A moment later he saw a hint of ebony hair drift from around the trunk of a large oak, then slender fingers appeared, softly caressing the bark of the tree.

Amos took a hesitant step forward. “Hello?” He said again. “Please don’t be afraid. My friend, he just wants to know your name.”

“Why?” Came the soft, quivering sound of uncertainty.

Amos shook his head. “I assume that he was quite taken with you. He’s here.” Amos pointed in the direction of the Prince. “He’s searching for you now. If you could just come with me…” He held out his hand but the other moved back under the cover of the trees, just barely peeking around the side of the trunk. Amos took a step back, showing that he was no threat.

“Who are you people?” The other asked.

Amos cocked his head to the side as he tried to make out the face that was speaking to him. “I’m Amos, as I’ve said. My friend is Christian. We were just walking through the forest when we heard you by the lake.”

The other came out from behind the tree just a bit more, looking Amos up and down. “Your friend startled me.”

Amos nodded. “I apologize for that. Sometimes he doesn’t think his action through.”

Amos studied what he could see of the stranger. The shape of the face though half concealed in the shadows was round and young. The eyes were narrowed so that he could not make them out very well but from what he could see, he wagered that he was looking at a youth, between sixteen and eighteen years. The youths voice was soft spoken, feathery, and very calming. The pitch was slightly high though distinctly male with a slight feminine ring to it.

“Come out here.” Amos smiled, trying to appear friendly but not over eager.

The boy hesitated a moment, then slowly stepped out into full view. He was young and very thin. almost too thin. He didn’t look sickly though, or starved, just dainty in an uncommon way for most men of the region. He obviously wasn’t someone who was used to working outside in the sun. His pale completion was evident of that. He also didn’t hold himself the way a field servant would. He was standing straight, eyes focused, and had an almost regal stance about him. His attire also suggested that he was of noble upbringing.

“What’s your name?” Amos asked the boy.

The boy watched Amos for the moment, as though trying to assess him. Was he friend or foe? He found it strange that these two were wandering the forest alone, and without proper escorts. What was more strange was how they had approached him. He considered the fact that he might have encountered bandits, gypsies, or something more sinister while traveling through the forest but these two seemed somewhat less threatening than he had expected. In all honesty, they seemed like a couple of bumbling fools. Lords no doubt, or maybe vassals. Not peasants, and certainly not men accustomed to hard labor.

The boys first thought was to abandon them to the forest and go on about his own business but then his curiosity was peaked when they gave chase. Perhaps their presence there was worth investigating after all.

“Your name?” Amos asked again. “You do have a name don’t you?”

The boy narrowed his eyes, almost angrily. “Of course I have a name.” He huffed.

“Well?” Amos was growing impatient. “I was good enough to give you my name. You owe me the same courtesy.”

The boy nodded. “Alexander.” He said softly. “My name is Alexander.”

Amos smiled. “See now, that wasn’t so difficult was it?”

“Do not play with me.” Alexander told Amos. His voice taking on a more authoritative tone. “I’ve given you my name. Now tell me why you pursue me.”

“As I’ve said before, My friend Christian simply wanted to meet you.”

Alexander rolled his eyes. “What foolishness.” He scoffed. “For what possible reason could he have for wanting to meet me?”

To that, Amos shrugged. “That you will have to take up with Christian. I’m merely the messenger.”

Alexander considered his words. He supposed that the only way to be done with the two of them was to find out what the other wanted. He cocked his head to the side and shrugged. “Fine. Let’s go and ask him.”

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