Lia

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The first thing that Lia noticed was the smell. This compound was very different to the one of Sergey. The compound she called home smelt of pine and sweat. Sergey was a good captain. Kind and fair to all but he wasn't a harsh man. His weakness some would argue. This compound reflected the character of it's captain, Dimitri. The main hall had practise mats and was full of men and women exercising.  Some were engaged in hand to hand combat; others were going through the movements and patterns of martial arts. Even in the suffocating heat, the pace was intense and the smell of sweat hit Lia.

She wasn't given much time to look at the main hall and admire the discipline and fitness of the men and women down there. The tall guard who had pointed to her led the way to a smaller room off the main corridor. Simply furnished, Lia guessed it was a reception room or guest room.

'I am Vladimir', the tall man said. 'Dimitri will be with you when he's ready. Have a seat while you wait for him'.

Lia sat down. It seemed fairly pointless to resist the big man she know knew as Vladimir. Vladimir left the room closing the door behind him. Left alone, Lia relaxed a little and looked around her. She stood up and walked across to the window. Looking out she saw that the window overlooked an enclosed courtyard. Behind her she heard voices that warned her that someone was coming. Lia half turned around and saw Dimitri enter the room. Behind him was the now familiar security detail. 

'You may leave us', he told them.

'Is this wise Dima?,' Lia heard Vladimir say.

'While I appreciate your concern Vlad, I think I would prefer to talk to this girl alone.' Dimitri replied.

The door closed and Lia was alone with Dimitri. For a moment they stared at each other before Dimitri walked across to her.

'Dimitri', he said putting out his hand. 'And your name is?'

'Lia.' she replied.

'Well Lia, let's have a drink and some food shall we'.

Lia noticed then that the room they were in was rather more than a reception room. It had a small alcove with a flask and some glasses as well as a platter with some bread and cheese and fruit on it. Looking around she also noticed a part of the room included an unmade bed. Clothes lay crumpled up on one corner. Lia realised that she was actually in Dimitri's private quarters.

Dimitri gestured for her to sit down, so she did. She felt such a sense of familiarity sitting there with him. It was as if she had been with him before.  Not in this room but with him, sharing a meal and the strangest sense of ease came over her. Although she had no recollection of ever meeting Dimitri, it was as if they already knew each other. It was the strangest experience.

'Tell me about yourself Lia.' Dimitri asked.

'I can't really tell you much,' Lia replied. 'Sergey's men found me in the woods down south one autumn. I had no companions or family and no memories. All I knew was that my name was Lia and I was lost.'

Dimitri looked carefully at her face. There was something so familiar in her looks. It was if he knew her from somewhere but the memory of where evaded him.

'Eat now', he said. 'I must go to a meeting soon and would like to share a meal with you first'.

Lia ate of the bread and grapes. This familiar feeling stayed with her and it was frustrating to try to remember where she knew Dimitri from. It was as if she knew him intimately and yet she could not recall meeting him before today. Usually her memory loss didn't bother her but today it did. It was as if at the edge of her memory the knowledge of Dimitri lurked but she couldn't hold onto a definite thought. Defeated she gave up and enjoyed her meal. Dimitri was a good host and made her feel at home.

All too soon there was a knock on the door and Dimitri stood up to leave. It was dark outside the window that Lia had earlier looked out of.

'Sleep here Lia,' Dimitri said. 'I won't disturb you and tomorrow my men will take you back to Sergey.'

'Thank you' said Lia.

Alone now, she moved to the window to look out at the courtyard and beyond to the lights of the compound. The strange familiar feeling stayed with her long after the lights went out around her.

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