SOMETHING I HAVE BEEN WORKING ON

BRED FOR DUTY

Hey guys read a piece of my book Bred for Duty. Tell me what you think.

 

Adalia froze when his hearty laugh bounced off the castle stony walls and landed straight in her heart. He made her feel…things. “I don’t think I have ever heard you laugh like that.”

“I had a happy thought.” He smiled at her. The irony of her two different persona was a source of amusement to him, “How you can be like a man in one instance then a girl in the next amuses me.”

Adalia looked at the silver lightning in his eyes but this time it shone through with a different kind of emotion. There was no anger in his eyes anymore, instead they smiled and-at her.

“You are pretty odd yourself.” She was still gazing into his eyes as she spoke.

“How is that?”

“This morning you looked at me like you were ready to drive your dagger into my heart. But now-,” she was still looking into his eyes so she noticed the change in them. A cloud of thunder loomed behind the lightning. She had said the wrong thing and now she had to salvage the moment, “But you are very beautiful both times.”

“What?” his anger was replaced with confusion. Then amusement, Archer was laughing once more, “Do you want to come to the mock battle field with me?”

It took her a couple of seconds to respond. Usually she was being chased out of the mock battle field and here someone was inviting her to one.

“Are you serious or are you just playing around with me?” her eyes were slit in suspicion.

“I’m not teasing you. Novia will be down there too.”

“You let your sister fight?” this was another startling piece of information to her. Randi was terrified of mother and so was Gabrielle, so they wouldn’t willingly let her fight just because she was a girl. It seemed unfair to her, that Novia, a girl younger than she was, was allowed to battle and she wasn’t.

“Yes, while taking extreme caution.”

“I usually have to disguise myself or sneak onto the grounds to get a fight.” She huffed.

Archer could imagine that. She seemed like a girl who went to all and any length to get what she wanted. “I need all my siblings able to defend themselves in the event that I cannot.” He mumbled as if it was a thought he had always harbored and feared. “Meet me here in half an hour.” He instructed before walking away.

Adalia rushed to the room that had been assigned to her. She was glad that her mother had insisted on her taking a full chest of clothes. Especially since three quarters of what she had packed were trousers and shirts. She had her armor from her fight the previous day and her faithful sword lay under her pillows. Soon she was ready and very excited about the mock battle.

At first Adalia watched then helped the younger ones learn their individual weapons. Archer had a passion for bows and arrows and he had passed that to the third youngest child, the others favored knives just as much as she did. Novia was excellent with a blade. Adalia wondered whether her brother knew what his future bride was capable of. She had to admit that beyond the perfectly braided hair and made up face, Novia was lethal with a sword.

Archer stepped into the centre of the ring, in the battle field, with Novia. He was teaching her how not to loose her footing in a close combat. He charged at her, tried to knock her off her feet but it looked like Novia could read every movement he made. She jumped, blocked and charged. Not once did her foot step out of the ring. Adalia awed at the way Archer looked at his sister. It was a look of pride and accomplishment.

Once the younger ones were done, it was Archer and Adalia’s turn in the ring.

“You are very kind with your siblings.” She watched his hands as they spoke.

“They are big part of me.” He smiled.

“What are you training them for? I don’t see why the little ones should be here.” She and Randi were the only ones who were allowed on a mock battle ground. The younger ones were taught with wooden blades and cushions to make their landings on the ground smoother.

“They need to learn. Now more than ever.” He said the last part in an almost whisper.

Adalia felt a pang of guilt surge into her heart. But she wasn’t going to allow herself or Archer to think about the idiotic sacrifice he had made on her behalf. Once she had gotten Archer’s rhythm pegged down, Adalia charged him and in ten seconds she had him flat on his back. But he was back on his feet in a fraction of a second. They fenced into the bushes and into the garden, calling a large audience to gather around them. They didn’t notice until Archer had Adalia flat on her back and him on top.

There was a roar of applauds, then Lionel’s voice pierced through, “Very good, I hope that by the time the week ends Archer would have changed his mind about leading the scouts and marriage. You are an asset and would make a perfect daughter in law and queen.” He winked at his son then walked back into the stone palace.

Archer got to his feet and pulled Adalia up with him, “Sorry I didn’t mean to-,”

“Hurt me?” Adalia cut in a scornful look on her face, “Are you apologizing because I’m a girl.”

“No, I was going to say, I’m sorry for getting you dirty.” He winked at her, “I know you are more than capable of handling any bodily harm I may have caused you.”

She was happy that he didn’t treat her like a porcelain doll, but miffed that he didn’t care if she was injured.

“That’s not a nice thing to say.” She frowned.

“What do you mean?” Archer was confused. He was treating her exactly how he thought she wanted to be treated, like a man. He thought he should irritate her a bit more. With his fist he brushed against Adalia’s jaw, making her groan out in pain.

“What do you think you are doing?” her hand went up to her face and cupped where his fist had left a dull red spot.

“What are going to do about it?” he giggled then turned around and began walking away.

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