Chapter Fourteen

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Chapter Fourteen

 

Aurelia was left with the feeling that something very important had just happened and she had no idea what that was.

The fair head man had been rage personified. It simmered beneath his skin, leapt out from his eyes. It darkened the room when he entered it. The hairs on her arms and the back of her neck had risen when he had looked upon her, it was like he was nothing but a vessel that Mars, the God of War, had poured all of his malice into. Who was he?

Kailen had said something that had incurred the man’s ire. Despite the respectful tone of voice Kailen had used when addressing him, Kailen’s stance had been implacable. And while no eye had been drown to her during the raised voices, they spoke over her head like she was part of the furniture, she had the foreboding feeling that the argument was in reference to her.

Wasn’t it always these days?

Ever since the ship wrecking on the rocks, it all seemed to hinge on her. She had been at the centre of it all, as a War Prize, as intended, as a means for war. She was now fitted into the role of Helen of Troy, her favourite of all the Greek tales. Only she wasn’t playing anymore, this was really happening. And she wasn’t the gallant hero, she was the catalyst, completely powerless to stop it.  

There was no power on this earth that could turn time back to the day when she got on that ship, no way to warn of what would happen.

Calonus dismissed them both with an incline of his head and Kailen took her arm and led her out of the hut back into the daylight. She blinked rapidly to get used to the bright flare of sunshine, before she was frogmarched past the small group of tribesman still lingering around. Some called out to Kailen and he only acknowledged them with a brief nod.

Aurelia opened her mouth to demand what that had been all about but one look from Kailen made her shut her mouth with an audible click. Now was not the time for questions, not out in the open like they were. She may have relented for the time being, but she wouldn’t be put off. She was going to get her answeres one way or another.

Kailen led her to the outskirts of the village, where a well maintained hut stood. Someone had already tethered Kailen’s warhorse to a pole outside, the horse happily munching on dried wheat in a large cotton sack. She wasn’t sure what she had expected of Kailen’s home, but on the outskirts hadn’t been it. Was he considered an outcast in the eyes of the others?

She looked up at him with a frown. “Are warriors not respected in your tribe?” Aurelia stopped when she realised how stupid that sounded out loud. The welcome he had from the others was proof that he was very dear to the tribe.

He cocked his head to the side, waiting for her to continue.

She gestured sheepishly to his living space. “You live on the outskirts… away from your leader…”

Kailen’s face cleared when he grasped her meaning. “We work on a structural system of living. Most warriors take homes on the outskirts of the village to protect our tribe from raiders and attack. Our leader, Calonus, has his own personal bodyguards living around him, their lives pledged solely to his well-being.”

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