Lociel’s practice session took on a whole new meaning when he caught sight of a couple rows of Elven females watching the warriors. They were standing on the edge of the clearing and three maidens in particular had caught his attention. They were fully armed and were laughing amongst themselves as they watched the mock battles going on all around them.
Lociel looked about and noted how the other sparring warriors suddenly appeared to perk up at the extra attention. Things were about to get a little more competitive. He had no intention of getting outclassed by any Dark Elven male. Implementing the moves he had noticed Gabriel using earlier, he knocked his friend’s sword from his hand. He then flipped the weapon back to the warrior, so they could continue. He was tossed a grin and a knowing look from his friend in return.
“The Elite Guardians we got a glimpse of when we arrived at the Dark King’s residence are watching. Right?”
Lociel noted the hopeful note in his friend’s voice and laughed aloud. A few moments later he sent his friend’s sword flying again as he executed a complex series of moves guaranteed to disarm almost any opponent. They were fighting more for show than effect and he was willing to bet the females were well aware of it. As paladins they would know the difference between real battle maneuvers and the type of grand standing that they were witnessing.
There was no way an Elven maiden should be built like those Paladins. Lociel thought to himself. If they were, he concluded, they should not be dressed in provocative uniforms like they were wearing. Out of the corner of his eyes he watched as Gabriel left with Marious hot on his heels. A part of his mind wondered if Eden was having problems with the triplets. She was very close to delivering those babies and it was an event he would like to be around to share. He was; however, quick to dismiss the possibility. Gabriel and Marious would not have left without letting him know that his sister was in labor. They also would have been running, not walking, under that condition.
Any further thoughts of his sister flew out of Lociel’s mind as one of the Paladins leaned towards one of her friend’s to say something. The movement caused even more of her cleavage to show. The sight of all that exposed skin caught Lociel’s attention and caused him to move carelessly as his concentration faltered.
“Enough,” Northal brought their contest to a halt. “I doubt if anyone missed that move and before one of us gets hurt it is time we quit.”
As they got closer to the Guardians Lociel sounded his objection, though he didn’t mean it. “I thought we were just getting warmed up.” He then frowned as the Guardian he had noted the most tossed her friends a careless wave of farewell before heading off. Lociel’s eyes followed her as she walked away and he smiled as she tossed him a grin over her shoulder. The thoughts and feelings that simple gesture elicited in his mind should have been outlawed.
Damn but that Guardian was beautiful. She had the face of an angel, blonde hair that was gathered into a long thick braid that hung past her waist. Blue eyes to rival the sky, and a body guaranteed to drive a man to his knees in worship. Lociel did not need to be told that she was probably one of the most lethal members of King Liessen’s guards. She would not only know how to fight and kill, but her appearance would be a major distraction to anyone stupid enough to try to face her in battle. Her friends shared her looks and coloring as well, though he was quick enough to note their eyes were green.
“Cool down a bit my friend,” Northal teased. “If your body temperature gets any hotter you will cause a forest fire. Then your sister won’t have to concern herself with having to heal the Sentinels. Even Eden is not talented enough to resurrect trees from ash.”
“That obvious Northal?” Lociel asked with a crooked grin.
“You could say that. You have to admit the Dark King really knows how to outfit his personal guard.”
As the two friends laughed Northal turned his gaze to meet that of one of the Guardians he had noticed earlier. His reaction was immediate. Without another word spoken, he walked to the Elven maiden. He knelt before her as he took her hand in his and looked into her face. He had an expression of rapture on his face that could have only one meaning. He had found his Life Mate.
“My one and only. You are the air that I breathe, the sun that brings light into the darkness of my soul. If you will have me I am yours from now until the end of time.”
Rayjan walked up beside Lociel, and sounding as if he was in shock asked. “What is Northal doing?”
Lociel grinned wide and replied: “Looks like he is going to see if he can sweet talk one of the Guardians into becoming his Life Mate.”
“That would be Heart Mate.” Rayjan replied.
“No little brother. That would be Life Mate. Especially if the way he responded to her when their eyes met had anything to do with it.”
Lociel half expected the Elven female to react negatively to his friend’s declaration of love. He was more than surprised when she smiled at Northal and clasped his hands with hers and replied.
“You are he whom I have waited for all my life. My own love, I am Arienne.”
“Arienne,” Northal sounded as if he thought it was the most wonderful name he had every heard in his life. “I an Northal.”
“Northal,” Arienne responded to the telling of his name. “I am yours.”
Rayjan’s jaw almost dropped in his surprise and he leaned over to whisper in his brother’s ear.
“But he is a full blooded Fae!”
Lociel replied. “So is our father.”
Northal stood as he answered, “Arienne, I am yours.”
“Northal, you are mine.”
“Arienne, you are mine,” Northal repeated then as one they added.
“Together we are one.”
The third Guardian who had been standing beside Arienne gasped out in shock. “What have you done?”
“I have bonded with my Life Mate sister.”
“Father will have a few things to say about this.” Came her sister’s angry response. She was shocked at the speed things had happened as well as the circumstances.
“No doubt father will.” Arienne replied with a smile as her eyes never left Northal’s. “It will not matter to me in the least though. Northal is my Life Mate. This is my choice. Not our father’s. I refuse to live a half life because of his prejudices and pettiness.”
“He is a Fae Warrior.” Raina screeched as if telling her sister something she didn’t know.
Arienne looked up into Northal’s face and smiled softly as she replied in a dreamy tone.
“He most certainly is.”
Lociel chuckled as he spoke his thoughts. “You never know how an Elf is going to respond at a time like this.”
Rayjan was not listening to Lociel. His eyes had caught the angry gleam in Arienne’s sister’s eyes and had recognized within them the lure of his own Life Mate. Rayjan was headed towards the third Guardian. As he had seen his friend do, he fell to his knees before the Elven maiden and held out his hands for hers. Before he had a chance to say anything the girl struck him.
“Do not even try.” Arienne’s sister snarled then stormed away, talking loudly to herself. “Not enough that he has Fae blood in him, but he has a disreputable past. How dare the fates do something like this to me?”
Rayjan jumped up and trotted off after the ranting female, looking every bit like the besotted puppy he was. She had to love him. She had to. He had recognized the attraction from the moment he had glanced into her eyes. This was his Life Mate. There was no mistaking the attraction.
Lociel almost laughed aloud. Now there was a female who would be able to keep his unruly brother in line. He wondered if Rayjan could persuade the Elven beauty to set aside her prejudices. She sounded as if she had definite issues with members of other races. Could they get passed her ideas of what should be allowed or not? For his brother’s sake he sincerely hoped so.
Northal had seemed to have had no problem with the maiden’s sister. Lociel wondered what the real problem was. He then decided he was not about to waste time worrying about his brother’s predicament. That was Rayjan’s problem. Dealing with it might help him grow up a bit. Having his older brother try to fix it for him might do more harm than good. The girl might think Rayjan a total waste of oxygen if he could not even court her properly. Rayjan could be very charming when he wanted. He was not a total loss, just very young.
With Northal off somewhere probably getting cozy with his Life Mate, Lociel decided to strike off on his own. After all, that first female Guardian had tossed him what he considered a very inviting look as she had walked off. Perhaps, he thought, he should seek out the young lady in question and see if she was as amicable face to face as she was from a distance.