“Come on Trevor, give it back!” the tiny waif of a girl pouted stomping her foot. Trevor continued to hold the needle-like dagger over his head and out of her reach. He understood why his brothers enjoyed picking on him so. As the youngest of four boys, he was the runt of the litter at ten years. The next youngest was Cedric, and being fifteen, he was Trevor’s biggest tormentor. But as (Y/N) was younger still, he could see the allure. He was nearly a foot taller and probably had a good fifty pounds of weight on her.
“You shouldn’t have this. Weapons are for men. You should go play with some dollies or have a tea party for your imaginary friends.” It had always been like this between them. The Trantouls only visited once a year, but for a month at a time. As the two youngest, they were always paired together by his parents. It wasn’t fair always being stuck with the girl; girls are boring. All they ever want to do is follow boys around bragging that girls are better; smarter, cleaner, and better smelling. They batted their eyes at the guards and tattled whenever he did something. Even his eldest brother, Simon, said that they were like vampires. “Meant to suck the life right out of men.”
“I don’t have imaginary friends, I have real friends. Unlike you. And Papa gave me that, it’s mine. Give it back!”
“I have friends.”
“Oh really? Then why are you always alone?”
“They are…” Trevor paused, “Hiding. From you.”
“Come on, Trevor. Give. It. Back.” she emphasized each word, trying to prove how serious she was.
“If you want it, come get it,” Trevor taunted back. (Y/N) rushed to tackle him to the ground. Trevor simply sidestepped and pushed her away. It would’ve been a masterful move against one of the other boys around his age, however, he momentarily forgot just how much bigger he was compared to the little girl. She stumbled and landed in a puddle chest first, scraping her cheek, arms, and completely ruining her pretty lavender dress. She sniffled once or twice, unable to wipe away the tears. Trevor knew that he should apologise. He knew that he was in a world of trouble. But his mouth got the best of him. “See? I told you, girls can’t fight.”
(Y/N) glared daggers at the dumb boy. Stomping up to him, hands balled into tiny fists, she snarled, “Want to repeat that?”
Trevor knew that he shouldn’t say it. And yet, how could he not? She looked like a drenched kitten. Pissed, but otherwise harmless. And so he drawled out slowly in a condescending tone, “Girls. Can’t. Fight.”
(Y/N) cocked back one tiny fist and before he could even utter the last syllable, (Y/N) caught him squarely in the nose. Trevor’s vision swam and all that he saw through the pain was red. Blood poured out of his nose as he sat on the ground. How had he gotten there?
(Y/N) placed her dagger back into its sheath on her belt. She straightened her spine and squared her shoulders while looking down at him. “I’m not a girl. I am a lady, ” she said haughtily. She then spun on her heel and marched back to the keep.
“Belmont. Come on, Belmont. Wake up.” (Y/N) hovered over his body. “Come on, Trevor, I didn’t hit you that hard. She nudged his still form. Nothing. Panic began to gnaw at her insides. “Trevor, please wake up.” She felt at just above his temple where she had hit him with the hilt of his sword. There was a noticeable lump, but it was nothing he hadn’t gotten before. “Come on, Trevor. Please. Please, don’t do this now,” she whispered, running her fingers through his hair.
“Mmm… That’s nice,” Trevor hummed.
“You ass. Get up.”
“What do you mean?” He asked, confused. Opening one eye, he looked up at the gray sky above him. He attempted to sit up and the world around him spun. “What the hell did you do to me?”
“She nearly split your head open,” a gruff voice chuckled. Trevor groaned.
“Not that he didn’t give me a big enough reason to,” (Y/N) quipped back.
“That he did, kitten. That he did,” Trevor’s father continued to chuckle. “Help the poor boy find his feet.”
(Y/N) offered out her arm to Trevor, but he just looked at it as if it were a snake. She just had to get in a lucky shot with his father watching. And to add insult to injury, he’d dreamt about the first time it had happened. That’s when he had given her the nickname ‘kitten’. He glowered. Only he should be allowed to call her that. Not that he was willing to argue that point with his father.
(Y/N) dropped her arm and looked back at the older hunter. “Perhaps we should send for the healer.”
Reinhart openly laughed at this. “I’m sure that the only thing hurt is his pride. Perhaps you should nurse him up a bit.”
“I’m sure that the wenches at the tavern would be better for that, my lord. I tend to rub him the wrong way.”
“Oh, that cannot be true, kitten. You are very witty and charming.”
“But alas sir, therein lies the problem. The poor man couldn’t buy a charm, and I refuse to engage him in a battle of wits.”
“Oh? And why is that?”
“Because I find it dishonorable to fight an unarmed man.” (Y/N) smiled. Reinhart doubled over in laughing. This did nothing for Trevor’s headache or ego.
“Oi, I’m right here!”
“Oh, kitten. I meant to tell you earlier that your stepmother has decided to join us after all and should be here by dinner,” Reinhart managed while wiping away tears. (Y/N) looked up at the sun, judging the time. Then down at her dirt-covered, sweaty clothing and blanched.
“Shit” was all she got out before running to the keep.
“Is that any way for a lady to speak?!” Trevor called out after her, but she was already out of earshot. He watched her retreating form as she grabbed a servant on her way in, wondering what all the fuss was about.
Lady Trantoul was a pious woman. Everything about her screamed church. Hair pulled into a tight updo, gems and chains covered her neck, along with three different jeweled crosses. Her clothing, while made with expensive cloth, looked more like robes than a gown. Trevor thought that he had never seen a more lovely shapeless sack.
He remembered the late Lady with fondness. She had been a gentle woman who took his pranks and high energy in stride. She had been kind, even in her scoldings, and would bestow a kiss upon his forehead if he had managed to find her a pretty flower or the sweet wild berries that grew in thickets near the quarry.
By comparison, the new Lady looked bitter, even her smiles seemed cold. Lord Trantoul had been reluctant to remarry after his wife’s passing; the Archbishop refused to allow such a heavily landed lord to be widowed for long. Lord Trantoul had very little choice when the Archbishop had offered up his own niece as a bride. She openly hated the Belmonts and had refused to come the last two seasons. (Y/N) had begged both of their fathers to allow the Belmonts to foster her. Trevor didn’t understand it at all, but he was beginning to have suspicions.
(Y/N) was the last to come down for dinner, and he almost didn’t recognize her. In the two years that she had lived with them, he could count the number of times that he’d seen her in a dress on one hand. And yet, there she was in a lovely, if a it overly modest, dark blue gown. (Y/N) had a very nice figure, if a bit muscled from training. Current fashion was a bit more revealing, but (Y/N) was dressed as if she was being prepared for the life of a nun. She looked pale, her eyes were cast down. Her long hair was braided and coiled at the nape of her neck. She wore absolutely no jewelry, not even the small silver cross that his father had presented her with on her birthday.
(Y/N) glided down the stairs to stand beside him. “It’s moments like this that remind me that you are, in fact, a girl,” he tried to get a rise out of her.
“Please don’t, my lord. Not tonight,” she said under her breath. Trevor frowned, she had never referred to him as such. She also never addressed him so quietly or politely when he poked at her. Something was up. This could be an excellent opportunity to cause some trouble, perhaps get a little payback. His intuition told him that someone he cared about was in trouble, possibly in danger. For the first time anyone could remember, he vowed to be on his best behavior and keep his mouth shut.
It started at dinner. Trevor had quick words with both of his parents. A couple of protocols may have been breached, but (Y/N) found herself with Reinhart to her right at the head of the table and Trevor to her left. His mother had sacrificed herself to deal with the odious woman at the other end with (Y/N)’s father and his three brothers with their wives between them. (Y/N)’s older brother and younger step brother were away. That meant that every Belmont was prepared to defend (Y/N) if need be. No one could have planned for how the night would turn out.
“(Y/N), dear, the Lady Trantoul paused, making sure to have (Y/N)’s attention before continuing. “I think it is long past time that you come home.”
“But why?” (Y/N) questioned, forgetting her place. Lady Trantoul glowered at her, and Trevor could feel (Y/N) shift uneasily in her seat. The Lady was apparently unaccustomed to be questioned. She didn’t like it. “It is high time for you to be married, child. You’ve already missed several seasons. If we can’t find you a husband this season, we may as well hand your dowry to the church and have you dedicated as a nun.” No one moved, all staring at her as if she had grown a second head. (Y/N) reached for Trevor’s hand under the table; he squeezed hers, trying to be reassuring.
Lord Trantoul looked at his wife, “I believe that when it comes to my child, perhaps you should consult me first, wife.” Trevor smiled, he had hoped that (Y/N)’s father would come to her aid. The smile that he wore did not last long, however.
Lady Trantoul smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “My apologies, Lord Husband. My concern is that (Y/N) is already at an age where most young women have been settled and have children.” Lord Trantoul looked ready to interrupt, but she held up her hand. “Please. Let me finish. The prime choices for someone of her station have already been snatched up. If we don’t act quickly, you may have to increase her dowry to raise someone’s interest, or worse still, be saddled to someone like Count Bulvier.” At that, (Y/N) shuddered. What worried him was that she sounded perfectly reasonable, even that she sounded genuinely concerned for (Y/N)’s future.
Trevor looked over at his father, Reinhart looked to be at a loss for words. (Y/N) looked imploringly to her father. He looked back at her, a deep sadness in his eyes. “I’m sorry my love, but she’s right.”
“May I stay until father leaves in just a couple of weeks? Surely, a couple of weeks wouldn’t make any difference.”
“No, my dear. I plan to leave in two days time. You will accompany me back. There is far too much to do, and you’ve run free for far too long as it is. No, two days is more than enough to say your goodbyes.”
And with that, (Y/N)’s heart broke. She made her apologies and left the table in tears. Trevor stood to go after her, but was pulled down by one of his brothers, shaking his head. Instead, his mother went to check on her. The rest of dinner was eaten in silence, and from the gloom felt within the room, it may as well have been a funeral. ‘No,’ Trevor thought. ‘Even a funeral would have more cheer.’
(Y/N) hadn’t come out of her room the next day. Trevor knew because he waited in a quiet nook in a corner. He watched as his mother had come and gone a few times. Her father had visited to try to talk to her. She had stood in the doorway, blocking his entrance. They had a very short conversation; it ended with her slamming the door in his face, and even from his place, Trevor could hear the bolt slam into the lock. At dinner, he sent a servant to his parents requesting a private meal. He knew that it would appear rude, but he doubted that anyone would care. He also brought a tray to her room, hoping to at the very least to see her for a moment. She had refused to open the door. He could hear her sobbing on the other side of the door and it broke his heart. He set the tray down beside the door and then wandered off to join his parents pondering all the while why it had bothered him so much.
The next day went much like the one before, except that no one was permitted to enter. (Y/N) was smart, the doors and locks were designed to withstand attacks. Not raider or brigands, but werewolves and demons. She could stay in there for as long as she had food and water. She had to know that too, so either she’d have to come out soon, or someone would have to chop down the door.
This would be their last day together and she was ignoring him. That bothered him possibly more than it should. He called for a meeting with both sets of parents to see if they could find an alternative.
In the meantime, he went down to the gardens. (Y/N) had been a part of his life for as long as he could remember, and after the past two years, he did not like the idea of sharing her. He paused. Maybe… He wouldn’t have to. He could ask for her hand. And typically, betrothals lasted for nearly a year. That would buy them time to come up with a better plan. Yes, he could talk to both families tonight. He could explain it to (Y/N) later, after he had her father’s approval. Trevor whooped, then looked around to make sure that no one had heard him. No one was in sight, but something seemed off about the garden, but he didn’t have time to try to figure it out. If he was going to pull this off, he’d need help. So, he pushing that nagging feeling aside and went to find his brother, Simon, and Simon’s wife.
Simon looked at his brother as if he had lost his mind. He agreed that his idea had some merit and he didn’t want (Y/N) to leave, she had been like a little sister. But this was Trevor. Trevor who has never done anything even remotely resembling seriousness. Even while hunting, he wasn’t serious, always showboating and throwing insults.
Marriage was a serious step. Granted, (Y/N) seemed a good fit. She could keep him in line and his ego in check. She pushed him and he challenged her. But they both had a softer side they allowed each other to see when they thought no one was looking. Was he actually going to propose marriage, or was it only a delay tactic? If he proposed, would she accept? Or would she think that it was a trick? Trevor must have been serious, he had come to Simon. That was either a tremendous vote of confidence or an act of sheer desperation. Simon and their mother had seen him watch her door. And now he was here, asking for help and advice about how to convince both their parents as well as hers that he was a serious, respectable choice.
Anya had started helping him the moment he asked. She had called that this relationship would happen when the two of them had been twelve and fourteen. Currently, she was making him look presentable. Haircut, bath, shave, nails trimmed, no detail too small for her. She tailored one of Simon’s good tunics because, of course, Trevor couldn’t be bothered to take care of these things. Then again, Simon didn’t either; Anya took care of all of that. It would be Simon’s job to coach him through this. Sometimes he really hated being the older brother.
(Y/N) had still not left her room as of before he went downstairs to hopefully win over her parents. Trevor wasn’t concerned about his parents, Simon and Anya volunteered to talk to them before dinner. Dinner had again been a silent affair. He had tried to win some points with Lady Trantoul. He asked her how she had liked her stay so far and how she liked the small chapel. She said she found it more than adequate and was surprised by how well cared for it was. He asked if she had seen the lovely library that the chapel had. She stated that she had not. When he offered to show it to her before she left or upon her next visit, she replied saying that as much as she liked books, it seemed like a waste of space for a chapel. As to visiting, she simply replied that she planned to leave early in the morning, and after this, she could not foresee any reason for why she should ever return. Conversation pretty much died there.
(Y/N)’s father, however, tried to engage Trevor in more pleasant conversation, he had much better luck there. They chatted about how the coming harvest looked and about what defenses and provisions for the winter were to be in place. They also exchanged fun and insightful stories. At (Y/N)’s training with a bow and daggers, Lady Trantoul snorted disdain; a Lady being trained was absolutely appalling. Again, the conversation died, up until it was time for his meeting. Simon squeezed his shoulder in reassurance and Anya smiled encouragingly. The five of them retired to the study. Simon had warned him against any liquid courage, which in turn had made him even more nervous.
As he walked to the room, he whispered a little prayer to God that he please not fuck this up. The door shut loudly behind him, causing everyone in the room to turn directly towards him. All he could think was ‘Well, fuck.’
Trevor strolled to the fireplace, as it seemed the best place to begin. If things went as badly as he feared, he could always throw himself into the fire and be done with it. He turned to the Trantouls and suddenly he realised that he had not thought of a single thing to say. “My lord, my lady. I understand that (Y/N) is getting older. N-not that she’s old.. But that you’re concerned for her. But that’s your job, of course you worry.” Trevor knew he was babbling so he closed his mouth suddenly, snapping his teeth together with an audible click. The fire was looking very warm and inviting. He looked at his parents pleadingly, and Reinhart stood, patting his son’s slumped shoulders. Bless his father, may he live to be one hundred and ten.
“What I believe my son is trying to get at is that he had an interest in (Y/N)’s future.
“I’m sure you two have become quite close over the years,” her father offered.
“Yes. Yes we have. Your daughter is very important to me. I can’t imagine a day without her.” At this, Lady Trantoul snorted, “Have you not noticed her absence the past two days, boy?”
“Yes. Yes I have,” Trevor swallowed hard. “They have been two of the longest days of my life. In two years, I can hardly think of a time where we spent more than sleeping hours apart. She is a part of me. That’s why I’d like to ask your permission to marry her.” There. He had said it. His parents both looked proud, her father seemed happy. He couldn’t stop smiling. Or so he thought.
Lady Trantoul laughed. But it was not laughter brought forth from joy, it was gleeful, mocking laughter. “You? Marry (Y/N)? You have to be joking.”
“And what is wrong with me?” Trevor’s good humor was slipping. He knew that she wasn’t pleasant, but he had at the least tried to appear polite. Now she was just being a bitch.
“Oh, you poor boy. You have no idea, do you? I suppose you are pretty to look at, and you may indeed love her. But I could marry her into any of the Great Houses, to a first son, mind you. I could set her up with a Count or a Duke. Tell me, boy, what is it that you, a landless fourth son, could give her to compete with that?” And the room erupted into chaos. His parents were immediately at his side. She had not only insulted him, but them a well. Her voice was becoming more and more shrill as she argued her case. (Y/N)’s father just continued to look dumbstruck.
Trevor was rapidly losing what little patience he had left. He had tried twice to interject, but was drowned out by all the others. Finally, he barked out over everyone, “Enough!” Again, the room went silent as everyone turned to look at him.
“Love. I can give her love. And companionship.” He looked directly at Lady Trantoul. “I would give her a family that would want what’s best for her, not what’s best for them.” He turned back to her father, “I would put her happiness before mine. I would keep her safe.”
Lord Trantoul looked Trevor in the eye, staying eerily silent. After a long and very uncomfortable pause, he started laughing. “‘Bout damn time, boy.”
“Huh?” The confusion on Trevor’s face was priceless.
“Trevor, you have my blessing; go forth, fetch your bride.” With a whoop, Trevor took off running. Lady Trantoul tried to interrupt, but Lord Trantoul wheeled on her. “My daughter’s happiness and future are my responsibility. This was decided upon long before now,” Lady Trantoul glared, but remained silent.
Trevor ran like his life depended on it, all the way to (Y/N)’s room. He pounded on her door, and it drifted open. Her bed was made and the room appeared unoccupied. Her bow, daggers, and short sword were missing from the corner she usually left them in. Her camping pack and heavy cloak were missing. He tried to drawers beside her bed. Most were empty. The hidden compartment where she kept a few of her personal treasures and gold in was empty except for a single piece of paper with his name on it. She knew he’d be the one to find it. He scanned the note and rushed back to the study. Slamming the door open, he held the note out to his mother. (Y/N) was gone.
The entire keep was turned out looking for any trace of the girl, but Trevor had taught her well in how to sneak out of the keep. She could’ve left a dozen different ways. He had to think. She hadn’t been to the stables, her horse and tack were still there. However, she was carrying quite a bit of weight. She’d head for the village- no. She knew that the village only had work horses this time of year. She’d go to the stablemaster’s farm to the north of the keep. He’d be seeing to his own harvest and wouldn’t hear the local gossip for days.
He questioned the kitchen, not if they had seen her, but if anything was missing. Two loaves of bitter bread, some cheese, and dry meat as well as two empty wine skins. She snuck out with three days’ provisions, she’d have more if she hunted and foraged. She knew the area well; hell, they’ve taken extended hunting trips. She knew the land as well as any Belmont. Shit. Something was nagging at him to check the garden. Something hadn’t been right. As he walked, he tried to puzzle out when she had left. Damn woman, she had two days to plan this out. Why hadn’t she gone to him? Did she think he wouldn’t help her? Hells , he would’ve stashed her up in the caves they had loved to explore, they were half a day up in the mountains… Wait. Could that really be the answer? They had stashes of provisions, blankets, cut wood, there was even a small wellspring in one of the back sections. (Y/N) could spend almost indefinite amounts of time there. Surely long enough to come up with a better plan. But the mountain was a two day ride to the west and the stablemaster was a two day walk. If he went to the mountain and she had taken off to the stablemaster’s farm, she could be gone in any direction she chose. But if he went to the farm, he could always backtrack. He would find her.
He started heading back to his parents, ordering his horse to be readied and the kitchen to pack provisions as he went along. In the garden, he turned in a slow circle trying desperately to get some clue, and her found it. Up the tree next to the gray stone wall, a small rope fluttered. No. Not rope; shredded strips of the dress she had worn to dinner. He had been trying to figure out how she could escape with that much gear, and now he knew. Her window was behind that tree. She had lowered everything down on the ‘rope’. It must have gotten tangled in the tree, and with the limited time between patrols, she coiled it back up and tossed it back into the branches. She had more than likely gone to the garden gate, trailing behind one of the patrols, and diverted course into the woods. They had done just that more than once to go swimming in the ponds during the summer.
If he had been paying attention earlier, he would have seen it. And with everything missing from the kitchen, the cook would've noticed first thing in the morning. He knew that she was in her room last night, she had to have snuck into the kitchens during the servants' lunch. Patrols are spaced further apart from dawn to dusk, he couldn't be more than half a day behind her. And she was on foot and overburdened, he would have a horse. He could have her back by noon the next day. He turned back to the keep.
When he entered, the study was in open war. Lady Trantoul and his parents were arguing loudly; Lord Trantoul sat in one of the chairs by the fireplace, staring into the flames. He couldn't interrupt without losing an inch or two of his hide, so he flagged his brother down. Simon walked over as Lady Trantoul started rallying about them letting a gentle lady wander around the world like a wild animal.
He pulled Simon over to Lord Trantoul's chair and crouched next to it. He let them know what he had found as well as his suspicions. He left out the part about the mountain caves, and the moonlight swimming. Somehow, he knew that it would cause him more harm than good. It's not that hey had ever done anything too improper, but the fact that he had seen her in naught but her shift, wet and plastered to her body, would probably not please her father.
"You're sure that you can find her?" Her father looked hopeful, but still doubtful.
"Yes, my lord. I've a few ideas of where she'd go. I'll know more when I get to the stablemaster's," Trevor stated confidently.
"How do you know she's not at the inn for the night and leaving in the morning?"
"Because your daft daughter is smart enough to know better. The village is only an hour walk away. The servants have been back and forth for the past two days. (Y/N) being forced to leave with your wife to be married off would have been the talk of the town. Your daughter is well-liked, my lord, and I'm sure someone would be willing to help her. However, there would be more that would come here to tell my father as a point of honor. And more still for the gold he'd offer as a reward. She knows that, she wouldn't have gone, and if she had, we'd have heard of it by now."
"Will you leave tonight?" Lord Trantoul asked.
"My horse is being readied as we speak."
"Good. Fetch her back. I've a feeling that she's going to put up a good fight. I can give you until I leave to bring her back. After that, my lady wife will probably force her into a nunnery where she can live out her days relearning how to be a lady. Trevor, my boy, after all of this, will you still want to marry her?"
"My Lord Trantoul, you wound me. I'm a hunter, as far as I can see, your daughter is merely giving me a great chase to test me," Trevor laughed.
Lord Trantoul smiled, "And Trevor?"
"Yes, my lord?"
"When you find my daughter, tan her hide so that she cannot comfortably sit a horse for a week. Will you do that for me?"
Trevor smirked, "As you wish, my lord." Trevor went out to the courtyard. He knew Simon would fill in their parents, and he needed to start moving. (Y/N) was hours ahead and knew that people would be looking for her. It was already close to dark and he wanted to get on the north road before it got too much further into the night. He knew that (Y/N) would stay off of the road, but that would slow her down and eat into her lead. If he kept to the road and rode through the night, he might even catch her there. He'd aim for the Sweetwater River to rest, hell, she could even be there now. And with that in mind, Trevor was off.
(Y/N) had not been at the Sweetwater, at least not where he had been. He also hadn't seen a single campfire. He reminded himself that he had been the one to teach her, and she had even more reason to be careful now. His concern was that she was traveling alone. While (Y/N) is a fine hunter, a lone hunter is still easy pickings. He had been traveling for a night and most of the morning, only stopping to rest for a few hours before starting again. The night ride had been almost enjoyable, the air was cool, but not cold. There was no wind and with the near full moon, the road wound across the land like a wide, silver ribbon. His frantic rush mixed with with his overconfidence during his ride occupied his mind.
Now, under the warm sun, he was trapped in his own head. What had made her run off without talking to him? They had been as thick as thieves for the past two years. Even before that, they had spent most of their time at his family's estate together. They told each other everything. They had shared secrets, roamed the countryside, everything. So why not this? Was it because he had stayed silent during dinner? Hells, she could've mentioned any of the things they had done that would have called into question her virtue. That would have been uncomfortable, but he wouldn't have blamed her it. They had not done... Well... That. But they had done enough. Beyond sharing their first kiss together, he'd never even thought about her that way. Did he now? He wasn't sure what he felt. Of course he cared for her, even now he was rushing out to find her. But is that reason enough to be wed? Did he actually intend upon marrying her? This had just been a ploy to to buy them more time, hadn't it? But when Lady Trantoul had called him less than suitable, the words had come to him so naturally. Had he truly meant them? Everything had moved so quickly. He should have gone to her when he had first thought of the plan. He could have scaled the tree, he'd done it before, drunk even. Why hadn't he? He could've had her there beside him and now he was hunting her like prey on a hunch.
And then it started to rain.
(Y/N) was excited. It had worked. Well, mostly. But she was away from that pious bitch. Her only regret was that she couldn't have Trevor with. He liked to complicate things. He would never do anything that he knew would disappoint his parents. She felt horrible for this, but she refused to marry one of that woman's choices. And if she had come all this way to fetch her back immediately and without her father present meant two things; one - that she had someone in mind or someone who had come to her that was to her advantage, and two - that she needed to have everything done without her father seeing anything, or better yet, without him being there at all until everything was to the point where he couldn't get (Y/N) out of it. A few names came to mind, and none of them were pleasant options, including her step brother. He stood to inherit absolutely nothing, and her dowry would more than set him up. She refused to be used for personal gain.
The plan had been simple, pack up what she'd need and then run like hell. She'd hoped that she could get to her horse, but it hadn’t been possible. It was all in the timing. Watch for the first patrol out the window, then drop her pack and herself down through the window. She hadn’t had time to mess with her makeshift rope if she had wanted to get to the kitchens in time. She had to duck back around a corner when she heard footsteps coming. Trevor walked past her so close that she could've touched him, and she had to stop herself from doing so. She couldn't drag him into this, she didn’t have time to explain everything. She needed to move. The kitchen was a simple trip and then she waited for the next patrol to pass. As she slinked back to the garden, she heard someone talking. Had someone found the rope? She looked around the corner and saw Trevor. She felt the familiar tug. It felt like the universe wanted to give her one last chance. She was about to step around the corner when he took off in a determined strut. She shook herself, she had nearly gotten herself caught. She slipped out the inner garden gate and then made her way out past the patrols.
It was still midday when she got to the north road, and she was already exhausted. But she had planned for this. Opening her pack, she pulled out one of the god awful dresses her stepmother had insisted upon. She highly doubted that her stepmother would have guessed how perfectly they would suit their current purpose. The dress fit perfectly over her riding leathers. No one could ever know. She put on the small silver cross that Reinhart had given her, and felt another pang of guilt. She did feel bad, the Belmonts had been like family. And Trevor... She could turn back now, she could be back to the keep in an hour. No. She had to leave. If she turned back now, she'd be trapped. She had to move before they even noticed that she was gone. She could hope that Trevor would figure out her plan. (Y/N) didn't know if she wanted him to or not.
Fully disguised, she started trudging up the road. This was the dangerous part. No horse meant that she was forced to carry everything. She needed a ride, and this meant that she had to be on the road. She risked getting caught, but she didn't have much choice. That and they would know that she was on foot with everything she owned. They would keep the search area small. If she got a ride, she would be well out of their reach before they even realized their mistake.
Would Trevor come after her? That thought caused worrying little flutters in her stomach. Her father had always teased her that she and Trevor would be married. At one time, there had even been talk between both families. She had used it as a partial reason for her fostering. At one time, she even hoped that Trevor would feel something and propose. They had been much too young at the time. She remembered that summer.
Trevor had spent much of his time hiding from Leana, the mayor's daughter. She stalked him everywhere, fawning and batting her eyelashes. Drove him nuts. And he made constant comments that he was so glad that (Y/N) wasn't one of those girls. But she hadn't been able to help the little flutters that happened whenever he took her hand to lead her somewhere, or the blushes when he smiled at her. She had left with the romantic fantasies of most fourteen year old girls. The next summer, however, everything changed. Trevor seemed to revel in the village girls' attention. He'd smile and wink, they'd giggle and swoon, and she'd have to forcefully prevent herself from gagging.
The next to summers went much the same way, except for a few minor mishaps involving Trevor getting caught with one of the local farmer's daughter. By then, (Y/N) had firmly rid herself of ay romantic notions of her and Trevor. She focused more on her training with her bow and working with the local midwife and healers. She was confident in her abilities, as long as she didn't have to sew more than a couple of stitches. The sight of blood made her a little woozy, but guts and entrails caused her considerable illness. She knew she'd never be a master because of it, but that didn't concern her much. When Trevor acted like she didn't exist, she turned her attention to learning something else. Reinhart had started training her in dagger and short sword use. He said that a bow was only effective if the target was at a distance, up close she'd be doomed.
(Y/N) practiced hard and she grew to love the moments when she'd put Trevor on his ass. Even more so if the girls came to watch. She had practically glared daggers at them whenever she had the chance. Eventually, they had stopped coming to watch. It was much easier to trip him up when he had his crowd of admirers, he had been too busy trying to show off. He'd never taken her seriously as an opponent. After the girls had begun to dwindle, he paid more attention. He'd point things out, correct her. He took over much of her training, and they were inseparable again.
But in all that time, he had never oogled her, or flirted with her. As far as she could tell, she was not, nor would she ever be, more than a kid sister to him. And there was a kind of freedom in that. They went and did things that would've otherwise been inappropriate, or worse. She wished that she had him here with her now, the past two years had tied them so close that it felt like a part of her was missing.
(Y/N) was pulled out of her reveries by the sound of wagon wheels rolling down the dirt road behind her. She knew she was safe before it had even gotten to her. Most people she knew had never seen a Speaker, let alone their trains or caravans. (Y/N) felt pity for them. They were the Speakers' homes, and were build for both longevity and beauty. The Speakers were a kind, polite people that were almost always non-violent. The lead wagon pulled to a stop next to her. A quick story about a hired wagoneer getting to handsy and ditching her after she slapped him earned her a ride and a cup of something warm. So far, so good. Next, she needed a horse, and from there she could decide what was best. In the meantime, she needed a nap.
Upon waking, (Y/N) stretched and realized that the Speakers were setting up camp for the night. They had made it much further than she had imagined they would and she’d be able to get to the stablemaster’s first thing tomorrow morning. That should have been great news, however (Y/N) still hadn’t had time to think of what came next. By the way that the elder Speaker was walking towards her, she knew that she wouldn’t have time now either.
(Y/N) knew enough about Speakers to never underestimate one. He had known that she lied. And now as they walked the camp, he wanted to know why. They weren’t likely to bring her back and the elder was more concerned with whether or not she was a thief. And so she told him the truth, more so than she had even intended. They talked about her stepmother’s visit and (Y/N)’s suspicions. She talked about the Belmonts and Trevor. She told him about running away and getting to the stablemaster’s farm. He listened intently, only asking the occasional question. He neither condemned her nor applauded her decision, he could understand not wanting to be a part of whatever plan her stepmother had in store for her. He asked (Y/N) about her current plans. She didn’t know. She needed a horse and that could be dealt with in the morning.
They weren’t far from the farm. She could leave her things behind and walk there in only an hour or two, but as well trained as she was, she had never been this far out alone. Hunters rarely go solo, for many good reasons. And she wasn’t a real hunter, either; she’d just recieved many years of training. Her best option was to wait until morning. After that, she didn’t know. She could forage for awhile, but with autumn already bringing cooler weather, she needed shelter. That eliminated a few options. She could go to the caves, but she suspected that Trevor would be there waiting for her, and she wasn’t prepared for that yet. The elder suggested that she stay with them until a better plan presented itself. It was better than no plan and she could earn her keep by hunting and foraging. It would help to stretch the limited gold that she had. With that decided, they returned for dinner and a warm cot for the night.
Trevor hated the rain. It was cold and wet and found ways to drip down his neck and back no matter how tightly he pulled his cloak around himself. This only served to further sour his mood. Damned woman, he could be enjoying a mug of beer by a roaring fire at the inn right now, perhaps even bouncing a pretty little wench in his lap. Just had to take off, didn’t she?
But if she hadn’t, she’d have said her goodbyes this morning and he never would have seen her again. That left a bitter cold feeling in his stomach. He refocused his thoughts, trying to decipher his own feelings. If they were to marry, he’d have to give up on wenching. That should bother him, right? But it didn’t. He tried to figure out more about how he felt about having only one woman for the rest of his life. The horse knew to stay on the road, and so, he closed his eyes. He thought about the women he had messed around with and he couldn’t remember anyone in any sharp clarity. Yet (Y/N) stood out in flashes. Her smile whenever she hit the center of a target, her smirk when she said something clever. Her laughter, her tears. She was always in clear, crisp detail. He opened his eyes to stare at the road ahead. What did that mean?
To the right, he saw a large patch of roughed up turf. He dismounted to investigate. Wagon wheel tracks and scorched ground from cook fires. He looked at the placements and how cleaned up the camp was. In another day or two, with this rain, the marks would be gone unless you knew exactly what to look for. It was a Speaker camp, merchant trains were never this tidy. The marks were fresh, grass still flattened, and the dirt was churned up from where the wheels came back onto the road. The ground had been wet when they got back on the road.Maybe four hours ahead, no more than six. Perhaps they had seen her. He had to get to the stablemaster’s. She had to have gone after a horse. And with the rain, she might hunker down. If so, he might get there before her. Or she could be there right now, warm and safe. Or she could be in a ravine hurt and ripped limb from limb by some monster. He had to move.
He reached the stablemaster’s just before sundown. One of the hands took his horse, promising to rub him down and give him warm oats. The stablemaster, Gilen, met him by the door. He looked worried.
“Not often that I run into two of your lot in the same day,” Gilen said, taking Trevor’s cloak.
Trevor spun on him, “Two?!”
“Aye, boy. That lass you’re always running with. Came by this morning for a horse. Bought a high stepper, one of my best. She’s escorting some Speakers to Brăila.”
“How long ago?” Trevor shook with emotion.
“Early morning. Why, there some trouble?” Gilen asked, perplexed.
“I have to go. I have to catch her,” Trevor tried to push past Gilen.
“Boy,you’re not going back out in that, and you’re sure as hell not taking a horse out in that. This storm is just starting, but should blow out by morning. Eat, sleep, and then go. But you’ll not be taking a horse out, not as long as I draw breath,” Gilen glared down at Trevor. The man was massive; he stood almost a head taller than Trevor and had arms that resembled tree trunks, not to mention that his father would kill him if he ruffled a single hair on the stablemaster’s head. He sighed, he had lost this round. Fine, he’d eat, sleep in a warm bed, and then take off in the early morning. (Y/N) was alive and safe. The Speakers were harmless, the worst they could do was bore someone to death. He had more concern that they’d convert her. (Y/N) had always found their stories interesting, devouring every word. Her curiosity would be her doom. ‘At least we will both be warm,’ he thought as he was lead to a table. (Y/N) wasn’t in any danger. He knew where she was going. One man on horseback would always be faster than a caravan. He could leave at first light and by this time tomorrow, he’d have her back.
Then it would just be a matter of convincing her. Shit. He still hadn’t thought about that part. Did he really think this through? Was he willing to go through with it? Would she? (Y/N) ran away from marriage, and here he was, trying to bring her back to it. But a betrothal would buy them time. There would be no wedding for quite a while. Harvest was all anyone thought about, and winter wasn’t an option due to the storms. In spring, no one could really travel until the roads firmed up, and then there was the planting. They’d have the better part of a year to figure things out. Trevor just need to convince her that it was a good idea. He could do this, but first, he needed to warm up and dry out.
(Y/N) always looked so alive when they snuck away. It was hotter than hell and the clear water looked so inviting. Trevor stripped to his smalls and jumped in. The water as cool and refreshing. He stood with his back to the shore, looking out at the pools, nine of them in fact, chained together like pearls on a necklace. He was distracted by the sunset and how the pools mirrored all the of the many colors, like swimming in the sky. He didn’t hear (Y/N) behind him, nor notice the water ripple around him.
(Y/N) wrapped her arms around his waist and pressed herself against his back. Trevor jumped, (Y/N) only hummed in amusement before kissing his spine between his shoulder blades, her bare breasts pressed against him. He turned in her arms; there (Y/N) stood naked, her arms now draped over his shoulders. Her long fingers played with the hair on the back of his neck. He’d never seen so much of her smooth, creamy skin before. He blushed, averting his eyes. (Y/N) laughed, “We’ve been married for three months, and now you blush?” She pulled his face towards hers. “Kiss me, Belmont.” And how could he deny such a simple request? Her lips were soft and warm. Her fingers twisted in his hair, pulling, catching him off guard. He moaned as she bit and sucke on her lower lip, and then her tongue was twisting and rubbing against his.
He picked her up by her thighs, wrapping her legs around his waist and taking her back to shore. (Y/N) pressed her body tighter to his, dragging her hips against him. His shock caused him to stumble to the ground. He clutched her closer to him, trying to shield her from the impact. (Y/N) took this as an invitation, breaking the kiss to nip at his ear before running the tip of her tongue around the shell of his ear. Trevor’s body shuddered, what had gotten into the woman? Not that he minded, of course; he was just unprepared for her to be so forward. Her whole body was inviting him to touch, to taste. He wanted to savor this, but (Y/N) had other ideas. She kissed her way from his ear down his neck and shoulder. She bit him, not hard enough to draw blood, but enough to draw out a moan of mixed pleasure and pain. She kissed the spot and ran her tongue over it apologetically. Trevor was rarely one for rough sex, but his blood was heating rapidly. (Y/N)’s hands grabbed fistfulls of his hair and dragged his mouth back to hers. Trevor eased her down further into the grass and propped himself on his forearms above her.
(Y/N) took full advantage of the sudden room between them, before he could even be bothered to fathom her next move, her hand palmed his groin before sliding her hand under the cloth and and wrapping her fingers around his already hardening shaft. Her fingers were so soft and warm, stroking him, squeezing with just the right amount of pressure to make his eyes roll back. He broke the kiss with a visible shake, dropping his head to the crook of her neck and moaning and whimpering. His hips thrusted involuntarily into her hand as her she thumbed over the head of his cock. It was like she knew every inch and exactly what to do to cause his undoing. He could do no more than react to her ministrations.
“Mmm, like that, Trevor?” (Y/N) purred. Oh God, not dirty talk. He wouldn’t last long if she started that. All her could do was nod and mewl. “You’re so hard, love. I need you, Trevor. Please, God, I need you now. Trevor, please.. Take me.”
Begging was the final straw, and whatever restraint he had was shattered in that moment. He let her pull his smalls down just enough to fully release himself. (Y/N)'s hands found their way back into his hair as he used one of his hands to guide himself. He rubbed the tip of his cock over her drenched folds, causing her to writhe and squirm. He wanted to tease her, see if he could get her to beg more; but she only locked her ankles just above his ass, pressing him forward. He pressed in on one fluid thrust and her back arched and the most lewd noises he’d ever heard left her lips. He had to do it again. He pulled most of the way out and then abruptly pressed back in. It was a snug fit, he could feel every spasm of the muscles wrapped around him. It was a perfect fit, like she was made for him. He paused for a moment just to take it all in.
(Y/N) grew impatient and wiggled her hips, needing more. And how could he resist? He thrusted again and again, listened to her moan, but he himself needed more. He sat up and lifted her knees up and over his shoulders before pressing them down to her chest. Now he could reach deeper. He kept his thrusts slow, wanting to memorize every inch. (Y/N) whimpered below him, her hands clutching his forearms. She felt good, but he needed more still, needed all of her. He alternated between fast, shallow strokes and deep, hard thrusts. (Y/N) wrapped herself around him, lips at his neck and nails on his back, leaving marks. He could feel her tightening further around him. She cried out in pleasure, begged him for more. Each sound, every word, went straight to his throbbing cock. He was close, so damn fucking close. But so was she, he had to tip her over the edge. “Please, Trevor. Please. I love you.”
“I love you, fuck. I love you too,” Trevor panted. He felt her snap underneath him and felt her cum; she repeated his name like a chant, he closed his eyes, ready to give in to it all…
The pounding on the door woke him up. It had all been a dream. Fuckfuckfuck. “Yeah?” was all he could muster. His voice was hoarse and his throat was sore as if he’d been screaming.
“Breakfast is on the table, better move if you plan to eat before you move on,” Gilen said from the other side of the door. Trevor heard his boots move down the hallway. Trevor palmed his aching cock, trying to decide what to do with it. If his throat was that raw, how loud had he been in his sleep? ‘Well then, now what?’
Bonus chapter! This was meant to be posted yesterday, but I only just finished typing it up and editing it.
Note from the editor:
So sorry for the late post, my job is kicking my ass more than I had anticipated! We hope you enjoy it nonetheless!
Traveling with the Speakers was relaxing. She rode next to the elder’s wagon. He was a kind, grandfatherly man. He told her parts of the histories, happy to have such an enraptured listener. When she was not listening to him, she was off hunting and gathering herbs, both for cooking and healing. She helped the women cooking the afternoon meal and watching children. There was a surprising number of children, nine between the eleven wagons, ranging from weeks old to early teens. Everyone had a place, a job, a function. No one had to be reminded or prodded. Everyone pitched in, which created a smooth routine. Trevor would’ve been bored to tears, but it was a nice change for her.
(Y/N) tried hard not to think about him, but this only made her think of him all the more. The guilt was enough to wipe any smile off of her face. Everything reminded her of him. Children playing, the smell of the forest, even the campfires. She spoke to the elder about it after he very pointedly stared at her when she shrugged off his questions of what was bothering her. He listened quietly as she rambled on and on.He in turn told her the story of her great grandaunt and of Leon Belmont; about how the two families were tied together by love and bound for eternity. He suggested that (Y/N) and Trevor may be the culmination of that bond.
She pointed out that their story had no Marcus, no vampire, and, thankfully, no whip. Nor did she intend to be bitten by a vampire and bind her soul to Trevor like that. She had seen Reinhart with the whip known as Vampire Killer. He had been very diligent in its care.
The elder pointed out, to (Y/N)’s chagrin, that on another note, she was the only other girl born into the Trantoul family. She shot him a rather displeased look. He laughed and explained that he didn’t mean that they were twin stories, but more of a fulfillment of a wish. (Y/N) had again argued against this. Trevor didn’t think of her that way and she had long since put such silly romantic notions out of mind. He pointedly stated that he didn’t believe her and then left to attend lessons.
Could she really still harbor feelings for Trevor? Of course she loved him, he was her best friend. But that was different from romantic love. None of it mattered anyway, Trevor didn’t feel the same way, and so it made no difference. He loved his freedom too much. Also, as she continued to find reasoning, he liked women too much to be saddled with only one woman for the rest of his life. She had been around for his many conquests. In short, the man was a bit of a whore. The last kind of man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with and yet, there again was that gnawing pain of not having him by her side. Even now, the enjoyment and peace she had been feeling was in shambles. Without him here, she felt alone.
Camp had been set up early with the threat of the oncoming storm. She had little appetite and retired early. She’d take a watch during the night. In the morning, they’d look over the wagons for any damage, and then another two days on the road before she’d have to make another life altering decision. Right now, she just wanted to sleep.
(Y/N) was awoken several hours later; it was time for her watch. Sh hadn’t dreamt at all, which was minorly alarming for her, but there was no need to worry about that. It looked like the worst of the storm had missed them and they had only received scattered showers.
She loved how alive a forest was after a storm at night. It was still early in season. She closed her eyes and listened to the crickets and the frogs. She could hear an owl in the distance and small animals scurrying in the undergrowth. There were small pops and crackles from the fires. The wildlife was out and lively, the storm was over and there were no predators out. This was good, although a bit boring. Boring would be good. She was a lone hunter in the dark with little more than a bow, surrounded by people that weren’t fighters. Boring was very good.
With the first rays of sunlight, the camp started to come alive. The wagons were whole, but two had developed leaks. It would be best to seal them up before more rain came, and the rest were checked and sealed just to be certain. The horses were fed warm grain with herbs and berries. The camp was in no real hurry. That was their way, they didn’t need to rush. (Y/N) decided to go and find a secluded part of the stream to wash up in.
It was close to mid morning before camp broke and got on the road. The road was hard-packed from years of use and was in good condition, yet, the elder seemed to be picking his way carefully. Come mid afternoon, the roads were dry, but his pace was not altered. She rode to one of the nearby wagons to see if perhaps the children were out stretching their legs or playing. The man looked as confused as she was about their pace. ‘Why, that sneaky old man.’
She rode to the front of the train to the elder’s wagon. He smiled over at her and commented on the pleasant weather. She wasn’t buying it. She asked him if there was a reason for the slow pace. He only smiled more and shrugged. She did her impression of his stone-faced stare and he laughed at her. He actually laughed. She had her suspicions, but he would neither confirm nor deny them. She would’ve pushed harder if something just outside of the treeline hadn’t caught her attention. It looked like a fallen stag.
Her blood ran cold. It was possible that it had gotten caught up in the storm and gotten injured, but it wasn’t likely. Animals tended to have more sense than that when it came to weather. Something had pushed it out into the storm. Most other animals would’ve been bedded down too. She dismounted and walked the rest of the way to the body. It was a large stag, its rack the largest she’d ever seen. It would have been able to deter a bear or a few wolves. Something didn’t feel right. She looked around, something was off. Further off to the right, she saw tracks, like wolf tracks, but wider and deeper. The most concerning part was the spacing of the things; this was a large, heavy, wolf-like animal that stood on two legs instead of four. That could only mean one thing, werewolf. ‘Fuck.’ She tried to remain calm, and reached out to touch the stag. It had large gashes in its throat and it was gutted. The body would have cooled quickly, but it was still warm. A fresh kill. During the day. Greater werewolf. And it had to be close.
She stood, trying desperately to retain her composure and move slowly. She walked back to her horse on rubbery legs. Her horse wasn’t spooked, which meant that it couldn’t smell the monster, but she swore all the same that she could feel its eyes on her. She mounted and rode back to the train, making it look like she wasn’t in a hurry. Running could kick in its predatory instincts. She could probably outrun the thing on horseback, but the train wouldn’t. She thought then of the children. She could almost hear the screams now. No. She had to be careful. There were ways to deter the thing as long as it wasn’t starving. At the present moment, it had a nice stag to eat. But where there was one werewolf, there would likely be others.
She made it back to the elder and told him what she had found. She also had to stop him from making a run for it. He did pick up the pace a bit, however. She moved on to each of the other wagons to explain. She told them to keep all of the children inside and quiet. Lastly, she told them to keep every last drop of excrement. They gave her funny looks, but agreed to it, nonetheless. And why wouldn’t they? She was a hunter trained by the Belmonts. If anyone was coming after her, she hoped that they’d hurry. Marriage might actually be preferable to being eaten, if just barely. But she had to keep the Speakers safe. “Come on, Trevor, where are you?” She whispered.
She pushed the train faster in increments, always watchful for any signs. Signs or pursuit, signs of help, safety, anything. They needed a defensible place to set up camp. She asked the elder if they had any magic users. They had two, both young and neither particularly experienced. Neither could set up wards or perform any really useful elemental magic. Combat magic was out of the questions. If they survived this, It might teach the Speakers its value.
She had to stay focused and calm. If she showed fear, the Speakers could crumble. Werewolves could smell fear, but it could also attract even more unwanted attention. Better the devil she knew than the one she didn’t. She would review what she knew.
Werewolves were fast, vicious killing machines. Generally they hunted in packs, but only killed for food or when threatened. Greater Werewolves were different. They could change form at will, even during the day. They were bigger, smarter versions, but slower. There were two things that concerned her the most; one- they killed for sport, and two- they look for mates to turn during a full moon. It had been a couple of nights since she had been able to see the moon, but it had been nearly full the night she left. All that it would take to turn someone was a bit of saliva and a scratch. The victim would be done for, the change would start instantly with a burning sensation. As soon as it hit the bloodstream, it could be a matter of minutes. No one had armor. Greater Werewolves also partook in ritualistic killings during their mating rituals. The train was too pretty a target to pass up.
About an hour to sundown, she found a mostly defensible position for the camp. It wasn’t ideal, but it was better than being up against the treeline. She had the train form up around the top of the hill. She instructed the women to boil large pots of stinkweed and garlic as well as burn large bundles of sage. She collected every grain of salt that was in the camp. She instructed the men to pour and smear what was in the chamber pots over the wagons and horses. Being mixed in a large bowl was a combination of salt, garlic and oil. She had everyone coat themselves in the horrid smelling mixture as well as applying it to windows and doorknobs. Salt hurt werewolves. She’d make them pay for every minute of this attack. She’d kill for wolfsbane, but it was very unlikely to be found this time of year.
Her biggest deterrent right now was going to be smell. All werewolves had very sensitive noses. They would not eat anything that smelled bad or was rotted. It’s why they avoided cities. Cities smelled bad. Too many smells were a distraction. She only hoped that they smelled bad enough to give pause.
Just before sunset, she had everyone barricade themselves in the wagons as she took her post on top of the elder’s wagon. From there, she could see all around the camp and well down the hill. The full moon cast plenty of light to see by, but the forest was just a dense, black mass. There she waited, coating her arrowheads in oil and salt.
The howling started a good hour after full dark. Damn, she hated this trick. It was supposed to scare the absolute shit out of people. And it works, damn does it work. And more than anything, it let her know just how fucked she really was. Howls came from every direction. She was sure that a few were moving around to make it sound like there were more than there really were, but she heard a minimum of four distinct voices, none being the Greater.
A hunter should be able to handle one stupid werewolf, two if they could be broken up. That was the trick, werewolves were pack hunters; a hunter had to split up the pack. But four or more? That was suicide. She didn’t have anything serious to kill them. No holy water, no silver, nothing. She had some salt-tipped arrows, a short sword, and a couple of daggers. Four werewolves was impossible, add the Greater and she was finished. The best she hope for was to hold off the four until morning. If she could get a clean shot at the Greater, the others may take off. She had to give the Speakers until morning. They could make it to the city, they’d be safe until someone could kill the pack. She then realized that she had accepted that she wasn’t going to survive this. And with that acceptance came a sort of peace. She was ready.
The first werewolf broke from the treeline alone. There were howls and growling behind it, (Y/N) couldn’t tell if it was encouragement or demands to go back to the pack. Either way, it was eager. And, thank God, dumb. It neither changed course nor speed, rushing headlong towards her. One arrow through the throat and it dropped, rolling to a stop twenty yards from the base of the hill.
A sound behind her caused her to spin around just to see two more shaggy shadows now at the bottom, climbing their way towards her. The first had been a decoy, and she had bigger problems. (Y/N) hopped from wagon to wagon, trying to get a better shot. The first arrow caught one behind the left front leg. I slowed a bit, but kept coming at her. The second shot went through the other’s muzzle. It wasn’t a fatal shot, but it stopped running to try to remove the arrow. They were split, she could take them out easier. Unfortunately, now they were too close for her bow to be effective. She shouldered the thing and drew her short sword and parry dagger. This was less than ideal, but she needed to save arrows for the Greater. If she lived long enough, she planned to turn the bastard into a pincushion.
(Y/N) leapt down from the wagon and ran forward into the closest Were. It took a swipe at her but she rolled to the left, cutting a deep rent down its flank. It crumpled, howling in pain. The next she caught by surprise, it had still been struggling with the arrow. It lifted its head, trying to howl out. (Y/N) sliced through its neck, ending its howl in a gurgle. She pulled the arrow through and jogged back to the wagon and left the one Were alone for the time being. It was already dead, the wailing howls would serve as a warning.
She topped the wagon, prepared for more bad news. She wasn’t disappointed. Six more Weres stalked out of the trees. Six! How the hell?! (Y/N) strung together every curse that Trevor had ever taught her. She’d gotten lucky until now. How many bitches did the greedy fucker need? She heard noises behind her again, but it sounded like they were moving away. Turning back, the Weres were now in open moonlight. They moved slowly, like they were stalking a cornered rabbit. She might have found it a fascinating sight if she wasn’t the rabbit. (Y/N) needed a plan, any plan now would be a good one. She drew her bow and made sure that the arrow was well-coated in salt. She aimed at the largest and drew back.
Suddenly, the beast was engulfed in flame. And that’s when everything stopped. The Weres looked at her and she looked back at them just as stumped. Ice formed out of the ground and shot skyward, impaling another.
(Y/N) woke from her stupor and fired on a third, slamming an arrow through an eye. The Weres no longer looked so sure of their victory. They pushed forward, but looked wary. Another ball of fire slammed into the ground in front of the pack. It missed its target, but it lit up the surrounding area. And there were two children standing between the werewolves and herself. ‘What the fuck are they thinking?!’ popped into (Y/N)’s head at the same time. It didn’t matter, they were about to be a midnight snack. (Y/N) fired two quick shots, barely aiming to bring the Weres’ attention back to her. She saw the kids turn tail and run. She hopped down and ran towards the Weres, yelling profanities the whole way. Once the children were behind her, she realized exactly how bad of an idea this was. She was now on flat ground, she’d never make it back to the camp, not with three werewolf bitches in heat less than thirty feet away. Her bow would be worthless. She dropped it and the mostly empty quiver. She redrew the short sword and dagger. Then she waited for them to make the first move.
The bitches sat watching her, not sure of their next move. Minutes passed as the two sides tried to size up the other. (Y/N) knew she was dead, there was no way she she could take all three, but she could take out one or two and hope that the third takes off, or that the kids throw fire at it. That still left the Greater. (Y/N) was exhausted, but she made an effort to look as intimidating as she could. The Weres looked ready to pounce. There was a crackle and then what seemed like half a dozen fireballs the size of horses came barreling down the hill towards them, (Y/N) included.
(Y/N) dodged hard to the right to get out of the way. The stench of burnt fur and singed flesh permeated the air. She looked up. The Weres were scattered. She lunged at the closest as it rolled in the grass. (Y/N) gutted it before it even knew she was there. The other two seemed to have started up the hill. One was drawing the attention of the children’s attacks while the other was stalking up the side. She ran back to where she dropped her bow, silently thanking God that it had survived. She drew the string back, took aim at the stalking beast, and let it fly. Her aim was true and with a yelp, the Were dropped dead. (Y/N) was not as lucky. Her bowstring snapped, catching her high across her forehead. In seconds, her vision was blurred with tears and blood. She had a spare on her but she’d never get her bow restrung fast enough.
She watched as the remaining bitch ran at her. She was finished. She closed her eyes so she wouldn’t have to see the attack. There was the thundering of the beast’s footsteps that she could feel through the ground. She could hear its panting breaths, its snarl. She didn’t have to open her eyes to see the sharp teeth that would likely tear out her throat.
Then there was another sound, a familiar sound. It was the sound of a whip cracking. She heard the animal yell and fall nearly at her feet. She opened her eyes and looked down at the animal. It was almost split in two. She looked up and there, coiling the whip, was Trevor Belmont. She smiled, overjoyed, and took a step towards him. Behind her, there was a howling rawr. She had forgotten about the Greater Were. She looked back at Trevor, hoping that he had a plan, preferably better than putting their heads between their legs and kissing their asses goodbye. Trevor looked exasperated.
(Y/N) turned back to the woods, carefully walking backwards towards Trevor. They heard the thing smashing through the underbrush. (Y/N) pulled the spare string from a pocket and, as quickly as she could with shaking hands, restrung her bow. Trevor handed her another quiver from his belt. Twenty arrows, she pulled one, silver tipped. She had hope. The Greater Were stepped out of the trees and into the moonlight, and all hope faded away.
(Y/N) watched the thing stalk forward on all fours. Once it was in full moonlight, it stood on its hind legs. It was massive, even for its kind. On its hind legs, it stood nearly ten feet tall. Its eyes glowed in the dim light. Each paw ended in several sharp, two inch longs claws. It continued to growl, foaming at the mouth as it snapped its jaws. Each snap revealed long, jagged teeth. (Y/N) wasn’t sure that a hundred arrows would take the damn thing down. “Trevor?”
“It’s alright, Kitten. On arrow at a time, just like we practiced.” (Y/N) both loved and hated how steady Trevor’s voice was. She took a deep breath and tried to force her hands to stop shaking. She fitted an arrow onto the string and drew it back, taking aim at its chest. She fired. The beast snatched the arrow from out of the air right before it reached its heart. It held the arrow out in front of it and snapped it in half. “Um… Trevor? Is it supposed to be able to do that?”
Trevor’s answer was simply, “No.” (Y/N) started cursing under her breath. She pulled a handful of salt out of a pouch. She had an idea. Trevor was not going to like it. She dashed right across Trevor’s line of sight. The beast moved too, rushing straight at Trevor. Trevor moved left, lashing out with his whip. As the beast moved between them and the whip struck, (Y/N) threw the salt over the Greater Were. Its reaction was instant. As it bellowed in pain and rage, it swung an arm out blindly, backhanding (Y/N) across the chest. She flew back and slammed hard into the ground. Her head spun and she couldn’t breathe for a few very long moments. It was difficult to bring herself back onto her feet but she managed, trying to take stock of the situation.
Trevor had moved off further to the left and kept the monster back with the whip and kept the thing’s attention on him. But the werewolf was gaining. She grabbed her bow from the ground and pulled an arrow from the quiver. She licked the tip and shoved it into the pouch of salt. She nocked, drew, and fired. The arrow lodged itself deep into the Were’s lower back, barely missing the spine. The beast arched its back in pain and rage. It spun towards her, taking two large steps before she heard the whip crack. It came still only for her, and she started moving back, nocking another silver-headed arrow as she went. A waist-high wall of fire sprung up between her and the creature. The werewolf howled in shock at the sudden brightness. She took her shot, the arrow scraped a thatch of hair from its head, but otherwise only ricocheted off of the skull. The bone was too thick.
Trevor lashed out at it again, cutting another deep gash into its shoulders. His second lash caught the hip and thigh. (Y/N) readied another arrow and waited to see which target it chose. It wheeled on Trevor. (Y/N) took aim and hit its lower spine. All at once, the thing’s legs gave out, dropping it to the ground. (Y/N) loosed another arrow into its ribs and then another. Trevor’s whip cracked again and wrapped around the beast’s neck. Trevor pulled the whip tight and drew his sword, and in a flash of metal in the moonlight he severed its head.
(Y/N) couldn’t move. She was alive. It was over, and she was alive. She walked towards Trevor on shaky legs. There were bodies everywhere, but there hadn’t been a single casualty. And Trevor had saved her, saved them. She ran to him, jumping as she wrapped her arms around his neck, clinging to him. “You came after me.” It was more of a surprised statement then a question.
Trevor held her tightly to his chest. All the feelings of anger, frustration, and betrayal of the last few days evaporated. “Of course I did, Kitten. You knew I would.”
(Y/N)’s body trembled from all of it. The battle, the surprise of being alive, the exhaustion, her injuries, and having Trevor back; it was too much. (Y/N)’s legs gave out. Trevor felt her body dropping and panicked, searching her face. There was blood, but he had seen the bowstring snap. Her eyes drifted closed and her body fell limp. Trevor yelled for help as he ran up the hill to the camp with (Y/N) in his arms. Speakers came out of their wagons, surprised that the danger had passed and that they were alive. The elder quickly came to Trevor’s side to assess the situation. He called for a few women to help, and Trevor carried her inside the wagon they directed him to. He was then promptly shooed back out and the door was closed firmly in his face.
Already, the elder was delegating cleanup. Not wanting to be in the way, he moved off to collect the heads of the werewolves. Brăila was only a half day’s travel away, and they paid well for monsters killed on their lands. He knew that the Speakers were tired, but they could sleep once they got to the city. City walls always made him sleep better, too.
(Y/N) slipped in and out of dreams in a half-awake state, always trying to grasp at wisps of something important before succumbing to sleep again. Her dreams were disjointed messes, just tangled knots of memories and fantasies. She dreamt of her home and playing with her brother. She loved how her brother would take her riding, pulling her up on the saddle in front of him. They’d take off, hiding from the tutors and staff. They’d ride through the fields and follow the stream that ran near the village.
She dreamt of her father reading to her at night about faeries and dragons. His solid timbre was both calming and exciting.
She dreamt of her mother the most. Her brushing out (Y/N)’s hair, singing softly. Her mother always seemed to be singing. (Y/N) dreamt of her in the gardens, teaching her the name of every flower, herb, and plant as well as what they were used for. She dreamt about her mother’s illness and passing. It was the only season that she hadn’t gone to the Belmont’s. She remembered Trevor being there, always hovering close by. He always looked confused, like he wasn’t sure why he was there. She remembered crying and him holding her, comforting her. It had been the turning point in their relationship. Before, they had enjoyed a sort of rivalry, although enjoy wasn’t necessarily the correct word. The important thing was that they became close. There were moments of vulnerability, moments of shared triumph, of disappointment. They wrote letters to each other, and (Y/N) waited and planned for her trip all winter. Trevor was like family, her family.
She woke to movement, a rocking motion. Her head ached. She heard a calm, kind voice and felt a cup being pressed to her lips. The water was cold and clean and felt amazing to her throat. She gulped down all that was offered. Her hair was smoothed back from her forehead and a cool cloth dabbed at something quite sore. She faded back to sleep.
The Belmonts were a well-known family and every male was taught to hunt from a young age. That’s not to say that women couldn’t be hunters. Reinhart’s wife, Sonia, had been a great hunter until Reinhart, as Sonia put it, “tamed” her. Having raised four sons, (Y/N) couldn’t really see Sonia as tamed. And each of the four boys was very different. Simon, the eldest, was twelve years older than Trevor. He was almost a copy of their father. Height, fighting style, even the way they thought. Simon was a nice boy, if a little distant. He was 14 years older than her and they had little in common. That was the other boys in general. But as she got older, each contributed to her training, even if it was only little tricks to trip up their baby brother.
Simon had tried to teach her how to use a whip; she had failed hopelessly. The only thing she’d ever managed to hit was herself. She gave up ever being proficient with it. Instead, he taught her how to prepare, how to strategize.
Julius was a strange boy, and an even stranger man. He was constantly reading; to him, knowledge was everything. Cedric always teased him about it, but Julius had always known the most interesting facts and the most terrifying stories. He dabbled in the sciences, as much as he was allowed to, anyway. When he was old enough he was sent away to study magic. He taught her about herbs and potion making. Useful things. What to mix together in what amounts to prevent infection, to cure a headache, to make someone violently ill after they had filled her bed with bugs and snakes. Useful stuff. He came back about the same time as she’d started her fostering, and with a wife, Tasha. Tasha was a strange woman, strange and foreign. (Y/N) tried to keep her distance from the woman. She didn’t seem dangerous, she just had a habit of staring at a person as if she was looking right through them.
Cedric was the second youngest, and the biggest jerk growing up. He was always playing tricks and pranks on Trevor and her. She may have tried poisoning him. There was a sit-down afterward, and then no more pranks. It was stressed that you really shouldn’t prank someone who had access to your food and an advanced knowledge of what could make you ill.
Cedric was also the cause of Trevor and (Y/N)’s only real fight. He had played them against each other. He convinced (Y/N) that Trevor really liked her, back when she held such notions. Cedric told her that Trevor flirted with the other girls to make her jealous. He kept this going for most of her visit, until one day when she had tried to flirt with Trevor. It had gone badly and Trevor avoided her for most of the day. She heard laughter during one of her walks and looked down to find Trevor chatting with some of the girls that fawned over him. She knew it was rude to eavesdrop, but it looked like whatever had been said was really funny. But it wasn’t. He was mocking her, telling them all of the things she had said that Cedric had coached her to say. (Y/N) could feel her little heart cracking, but it was his comment, “Like I would be interested in her. She might as well be a boy, why would I want to kiss a boy?” that had finally shattered it to splinters.
She ran back to her room in tears, feeling embarrassed and foolish. She cried most of the evening, refusing dinner. It was made all the worse by the fact that it was her birthday. Her father had come and tried to talk to her but she wouldn’t budge. They sent Trevor, but she slammed the door in his face and cried harder. Sonia had gone up, being the closest thing that (Y/N) now had to a mother. She broke down and explained everything that happened between sobs. Sonia comforted her until she fell asleep, then came down upon her two youngest sons like an angry she-dragon. (Y/N) didn’t get to see it, but Tasha had more than happily regaled her with the evening’s exploits. Still feeling foolish and vulnerable, she had worn soft, simple dresses instead of the tunics and leggings she had grown accustomed to wearing. She’d taken lessons on estate management from Sonia and the keep steward. She took all of her meals in the servants’ dining hall to learn all of the different positions and duties. Any other free time was spent with Julius. She’d managed to stay away from Cedric and Trevor the entire final week of that visit.
Her father and her had been saying their goodbyes, the carriage was packed and ready to go. She had been walking to the carriage when a hand clasped hers and dragged her off to the gardens. She’d tried to protest, but he wasn’t having it. He pressed her against the stone wall, still holding her hand. Gently, something she did not think Trevor Belmont capable of until this moment, he presented her with a white lily. Taking the flower with her free hand, she looked up at him. This brought her to her next surprise, he kissed her.
It wasn’t a particularly good kiss. It was far too wet and messy for her tastes. After that, he wiped his sleeve against his mouth, wiping her off of his mouth. “There, see? I don’t think of you as a boy,” he huffed. That’s all it was to him. He’d stolen her first kiss to prove some stupid point. It hurt more than the original comment had. But she wouldn’t cry this time.
“What do you want, Trevor?” she asked as she stared down at the little flower.
“I want my friend back,” he stated in earnest.
(Y/N) shook her head. Boys really were this dumb. She looked up at him, stood on her tiptoes, and brushed her lips against his. Trevor had been shocked for a moment before he wrapped his free hand around to the small of her back and held her to his chest. She tilted her head slightly, slotting her lips against his and poured all of her love and heartbreak into it. She broke the kiss just as softly as she’d initiated it. One solitary tear escaped the corner of her eye, causing Trevor to frown and thumb the tear away. “(Y/N)-” his voice was tentative.
But (Y/N) interrupted him, not wanting to hear what he had to say, “Goodbye, Trevor.” And she broke away, making for the carriage. As the carriage left, she watched as Trevor came around the corner of the keep looking like a whipped puppy. She had no intentions of ever coming back.
As for Cedric, well. He taught her not to trust so easily, not to wear her heart on her sleeve. He eventually apologized, namely so he could try to court her one and only non-Belmont friend. She made him work for it, but in the end, Maria and Cedric were married this past early summer.
(Y/N) awoke feeling full and was surrounded in warm contentment. She was laying on her side in a real bed. The was a fire crackling low in the small fireplace. She deduced that she was at an inn, a nice inn. The bed and pillows were soft and smelt clean. She started noticing other things too, like the warm body tucked tightly behind her. The strong, heavy arm draped over her waist and the familiar fingers laced with hers. Most distressing was the lump rubbing against her lower back, just above her tailbone.
“That had better be a dagger, Belmont.” There was a snorted laugh behind her, “It’s slightly concerning that you’d prefer to be cuddled with an armed man.”
“Well, what would you rather I think?”
“That I don’t think you’re a boy, and that he ’s happy to see you,” he replied, almost questioningly.
“Where ‘he’ is prodding me does not really prove anything,” she snarked back.
“Damn you, woman,” he growled and flipped her over. Before she could so much as yelp, she found herself facing him with her face pressed to his bare chest and her head tucked under his. His strong arms snaked around her and squeezed her into place.
“Trevor?” (Y/N) questioned.
“Shhh.. Let me have this moment, please, (Y/N).” Trevor’s voice was raw with emotion. He held her close to him for several moments in silence. She could hear his heartbeat, quick but steady and strong, like the rest of him. She wrapped an arm around him, cuddling him closer. She felt his body tremble ever so slightly as he drew a ragged breath.
“I could have lost you.” He swallowed, “I didn’t know if I’d find you. I was terrified that something might happen. What would I have done had anything happened to you? I finally found you, only to find you up against an entire pack of werewolves that was headed by a Greater Werewolf. And after we somehow managed to survive, you collapse in my arms as still as death. I thought I had lost you for good.” He buried his nose in her hair. “The Speaker women locked you in that wagon for the better part of a day, not telling me anything. We got to town and I paid for this room. I insisted that they bring you here, give you a bath. No offense, Kitten, but you smelled horrible.” At this, (Y/N) laughed. “After that, I kicked them out once they had assured me that you’d wake. That was yesterday morning. And now, you’re awake, and whole, and in my arms. So tell me why, Kitten. Why did you leave me?”
(Y/N) felt a fool. “I didn’t want yours or your family’s name dragged through the mud.”
“Did you think I wouldn’t come, that I’d betray you?” She could hear the emotion, feel it in how his Adam’s apple moved as he swallowed.
“I couldn’t take the chance.”
“That I’d betray you.” He sounded hurt.
“That you’d come. That the bitch would raise holy hell and have you castrated, your family denounced. I couldn’t have that on my conscience.” She tried to push him away so that she could look at him, but his arms only tightened their hold.
“While you were laying here, you opened your eyes, looked square into mine, and said, “Goodbye, Trevor.” After that, you closed your eyes and dropped back to sleep. You sounded so certain, so final. What did you dream of?”
This caught (Y/N) off guard. She knew what he spoke of. “I’ll tell you if you stop trying to choke me on your chest hair.” Trevor loosened his grip some, but otherwise maintained a strong hold on her hip, as if he feared that she’d disappear if he let go. “I was dreaming about our first kiss.”
“Our first..? Ohh..” He smirked, “Was it that memorable?”
“Like kissing a slobbering dog,” she laughed. Trevor chuckled, “I wasn’t that bad, was I?”
“Yes,” (Y/N) stated simply with a smile. The hand at her hip moved up her side. (Y/N) could feel the heat of his fingertips through the thin silk shift she wore. The thought of where that shift came from crossed her mind briefly, but the heat spreading from those fingertips burnt all rational thought away. Trevor’s hand stopped at her cheek, brushing the hair away. “(Y/N),” he paused. She watched his mouth as he bit his lip. “(Y/N), may I try again?” All (Y/N) could do was nod dumbly. Trevor moved slowly, to avoid startling her. First it was just a graze of lips before he pressed his to hers. Soft caresses, pulling her bottom lip between his and sucking gently. (Y/N) gasped and Trevor took the opportunity to slip his tongue between her lips. And like fanning the flames in an oven, the small blaze turned into an inferno. Her fingers twisted in his hair and pulled them closer together. Neither could get enough. Trevor’s bunched the silk of her shift, revealing her knees. He shifted, pulling her on top of him as he caressed the soft skin of her thighs under the shift.
(Y/N) broke the kiss with a laugh. “This is highly inappropriate.”
“Since when do you care about propriety?” Trevor asked, voice gravelly, eyes blown.
“Since you got better at kissing,” (Y/N) quipped back. But then Trevor wove one hand into her hair and pulled her mouth back down to his. His other hand grabbed her hip and held her still as he thrusted his hips up, grinding their sexes together. (Y/N) moaned, pressing her hips down, grinding against him. The heat pooled between her legs, fueling her need. The friction helped for now, but she’d need more soon. She pulled a hand away, trying to figure out the buckles and ties of his leggings without looking.
Trevor couldn’t deny that it felt good and (Y/N) seemed to want him just as badly. Something kept distracting him, gnawing at the back of his head. He shouldn’t do this. It wasn’t how it was done. They needed to talk. He still hadn’t explained the plan, she needed to know. And soon his family would be here. He had sent word with what he discovered at the stablemaster’s farm. His father would come personally as a matter of honor and duty. If they were caught, Lady Trantoul could demand a bride price and have him punished. They’d split them apart. And as much as a small part of him screamed that he didn’t care, the truth was that he did.
Trevor flipped (Y/N) underneath him and held his body above her. He broke the kiss and looked into her eyes. Damn it, he didn’t want to stop this, but they had to. “(Y/N), you’re right. We can’t do this.” The words were hard to say.
“But I don’t want to be right, I want you.”
Damn, did she know how to get to him. “I want to, Kitten. God knows I do. But we need to talk first. We might not have much time.” He pressed their foreheads together. “My father could be here any time, and there are things we need to talk about first.
(Y/N) froze. Reinhart was on his way. She needed to get out of there before he forced her to go back. And Trevor must have sent for him. Had he really betrayed her so casually? Trevor could read the panic in her eyes. He had watched her hold her own, grossly outnumbered by werewolves and she didn’t flinch. Was it her stepmother or the idea of marriage that terrified her so much?
“(Y/N), listen to me. Give me five minutes to explain, if you don’t like what I have to say, I’ll help you run. And this time, I’ll go with, if you’ll let me. Deal?” (Y/N) nodded, refusing to break eye contact. “I would’ve told you if you hadn’t run, could have given me a couple hours more,” Trevor teased, hoping she’d smile. She didn’t. He continued, “I asked for your father’s permission to marry you, and he gave it. I thought that at the least, it would give you almost a year to come up with a better plan.”
Why did that make her heart flutter and break at the same time? He had kissed her. Had it really meant nothing? She was laying beneath him, legs spread, begging for him like a whore. Had she really been about to give herself to him? And it meant nothing.
Trevor watched as (Y/N)’s face projected all of her thoughts and emotions; fear, disappointment, sadness. He knew he had said it wrong. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He had to do better, (Y/N) deserved better. He couldn’t skip to the parts he thought were important. He rolled onto his side, taking her with him. He held her to him, afraid that it was the last time she’d let him. “I stood outside your door for nearly two days, hoping you’d see me. That we’d come up with some kind of plan. And for two days, I was trapped in my own head. Do you know how scary that is?” (Y/N) snorted at this. “And all I could think of was you. That some man was going to take you away from me, that I’d never see you again. I started to panic; you’re mine, and I didn’t want to share you. So I racked my brain for a plan, any plan, and you weren’t there to help. You know better than to leave me to my own devices.”
“And your brilliant plan was to marry me?” (Y/N) asked.
“Shh, I’m not done yet,” Trevor grunted. “I went to Simon for help. He and Anya cleaned me up. She even shaved me, Kitten. And then I tried to talk to your parents. She’s a real bitch, you know that? She called me a worthless, landless, fourth son. She asked me what I could hope to offer you.” He felt her tense up. He tipped her chin back so he could look into her eyes. “I said love. And companionship, and I would always put your happiness before mine. I said that I’d keep you safe. You almost made a liar out of me.” (Y/N) blushed, looking more than a little ashamed.
“What did my father say?” (Y/N) asked in a small, thin voice.
Trevor laughed, “‘Bout damn time, boy,’ and then told me to fetch you. I ran out of the room, and barely caught your father snapping at that woman. But you weren’t there. I didn’t know where you’d have gone. I almost went to the caves, but then I realized that you didn’t have a horse.” Trevor went to go on, but (Y/N) place her fingers over his lips to pause them. He took them in his hand and kissed them.
“I saw you twice that day. I wanted to grab you, to tell you, but I couldn’t. Explaining would’ve taken too long. I should have. Trevor, I’m so sorry,” (Y/N)’s voice trembled and tears threatened to fall. “Trevor, I…”
“Shh... “ He interrupted. “I found myself on the road and thinking again. And I tried to convince myself that it was just a delay tactic. But then I thought about the things I had said, and how naturally the words came. I began to realize how much you mean to me. Two years of having you all to myself. I can’t let you go. I won’t, (Y/N). I love you.” Trevor held his breath. He felt so fragile that she thought she could break him in an instant.
(Y/N) looked into Trevor’s eyes. She saw all of it. There was too much feeling there for him to be lying. She lifted her head so that she could brush her lips against his. “I love you too.”
Trevor’s response burned through her, his lips pressed hard against hers, tongue demanding. He pressed her down to the bed, covering her with his body. His hands roamed her freely as his mouth devoured her moans. Propriety be damned, he wanted her now. He reached between them and began to work on the lacing of his leggings when the door slammed open.
There stood his father and three brothers. Trevor grabbed the blanket and pulled it over (Y/N). His father shook his head, “You do know that you’re supposed to wait until after the wedding, right?”
The trip back was interesting, to say the least. Trevor’s father and brothers were all for picking on Trevor, but all in good humor. That didn’t mean that they didn’t watch he and (Y/N) like hawks. Needless to say, they didn’t get much alone time.
The amusement started when Trevor had presented (Y/N) with several bags of gold coin. Julius laughed and remarked to Cedric that Trevor obviously didn’t know how a dowry worked. Cedric made a comment about paying for services not rendered and Trevor had chased him through the town, screaming profanities and defending her honor. Simon had clasped her shoulder and announced that he hoped she had all girls.
They had gathered for lunch and (Y/N) and Trevor recounted the story of the werewolf battle to the others. They looked shocked and proud. Two hunters had defeated an entire pack along with the Greater Werewolf at its head with no chance to plan. (Y/N) applauded Julius for teaching her the concoction that she had boiled. She couldn’t say if it had helped or not, but it certainly hadn’t hurt.
They planned to spend the rest of the day buying provisions, maybe a few (a lot) of gifts and preventing (Y/N) and Trevor from being alone. (Y/N) knew that Simon was a lost cause, but perhaps she could convince Julius and/or Cedric to be a little less vigilant. She was going shopping with Julius, she’d start there.
Everyone acted as if they were going to.. Well, they were probably right. Trevor looked absolutely dejected when his father had put him in a different room. At a different inn. However, (Y/N) was woken in the middle of the night to Trevor sneaking in through the window. Removing his tunic, boots, and belts, he crawled into bed beside her. They woke the next morning to four scowling Belmonts. It had still been worth it.
The trip back was uneventful, and the other Belmonts relaxed a little. But every minute in the saddle brought her closer to her stepmother. She hadn’t left as she had planned. What if she had convinced her father that Trevor wasn’t the best option for her? And on that note, (Y/N) realized something rather important.
“Oi, would-be husband,” (Y/N) called to Trevor from the back of their group. “You seem to have forgotten something.”
Trevor looked confused as he altered his pace to ride beside her. “What did I forget?” he asked seriously.
“How about asking if I want to marry you?” (Y/N) smirked. The boys’ ‘oooo’s caused Trevor to relax, it was just (Y/N)’s usual bantering argument. “I already asked your father.”
“He’s already married. I thought it was my hand that you wanted, not my father’s.”
Trevor had learned how to argue with (Y/N) long before now, he usually let her win. Not today. “I assure you, Kitten. No man has married a woman for her hand alone.”
“You know what I meant.”
“I do, and you know more about what I meant than a blushing bride should.”
(Y/N) blushed, “Are you going to ask, or not?”
“I told you, I already did.”
“Because it should be my decision.”
“The last decision you made had me riding for days and fighting werewolves. You are bad at decision making, so you don’t get to make any more.”
“And what was the last good decision you made?”
“Asking for a redo on that first kiss.” Trevor smirked victoriously. (Y/N) could only blush and stammer.
“Careful, Kitten,” Reinhart said leaning in.” Someone might not be as witless as you thought.”
The next several months went by in a blr of wedding planning and everyday Belmont drama. It was the happiest that (Y/N) had ever been. Maria and Anya were pregnant, and so the next generation of Belmonts was underway. Simon and Cedric were beside themselves. (Y/N)’s father requested her home for a few months, and she went willingly.
Everything was going according to plan and her father and brother escorted her back for the wedding.
The village was quiet when their carriage passed through. The wedding was days away, yet there were no decorations. The village loved weddings, and the Belmonts included everyone in their celebrations.
As they approached the keep, there were signs of vandalism and the small chapel that they were to be married in was in ruins. Trevor met her at the gate, pulling her to him. He seemed relieved that Reinhart and Sonia had met them at the steps the the great keep. Everyone was ushered in and (Y/N) heard the gates close behind them.
There had been some issues with the Church. Wild rumors were being spread, claiming that the Belmonts were demon worshipers. Rumors that the monsters they fought were summoned by the Belmonts to extort money from the people. There were rumors that they seduce young virgins and sacrifice them, trapping their souls into weapons.
Julius had been the first victim, he was attacked by a mob after he had helped a young family that had fallen ill. The mob attacked him on the road back to the keep. He wasn’t seriously injured, but the point was made. Julius was now considered a warlock. (Y/N) found the whole thing ridiculous, but there was more. Patrols had gone missing later to find out that they had been attacked and exorcised. Very few survived. The family had been concerned that (Y/N)’s family would be attacked, or that they would cancel the wedding.
(Y/N) huffed indignantly. “So I’m to be the next sacrifice, am I? Do I at least get to choose what weapon my soul will be bound to?” She managed to get most to laugh, and those who didn’t managed a smile.
“I thought we agreed that you don’t get to make decisions anymore.” Trevor grinned. “But if you could, what would you want to be?”
“Something you’re not proficient with. Honestly, Trevor, you’d be fondling me constantly.” With that, everyone did laugh. The spell of doom had been broken. (Y/N) still worried. There had been a hint of truth to the rumors. Not that she believed it, but with the small pieces of truth, someone would have to know them very well to know about Vampire Killer.
A Belmont wedding without a village seemed strange, but nothing was going to deter them. It was mid-summer, and Trevor and (Y/N) were kept quite busy. Nights were hot and humid, which made sleep difficult to come by. One night, there had been a tapping at her window. She walked over to it to find Trevor at it.
“Shh, come on. Let’s sneak to the pools and go for a swim,” Trevor whisper-yelled. “Come on, one last sneak out before we’re married and it isn’t inappropriate anymore.” How could (Y/N) resist? She climbed out onto the branch next to her window. It had surprised her that no one had bothered to cut it after her great escape nearly a year ago. She was a bit out of practice. She knew that there were still patrols out on the grounds, and that they would be paid a bonus if they caught (Y/N) and Trevor trying to run off, but Trevor didn’t look worried. Maybe everyone had decided to relax a bit, seeing as the wedding was only two days away, or Trevor had paid them off himself. She managed to get down without flashing Trevor too much leg, and then they were off.
The pools were just as beautiful as (Y/N) remembered them. Trevor had been busy. A small picnic was set up along with bedrolls. At the far corner of the little picnic area, there were candles to be lit. Once they were lit, the light sparkled across the water.
“Oh, Trevor.. It’s perfect,” (Y/N) managed, completely in awe. Trevor just smiled, proud of himself. They stripped down in the candlelight, not completely, but as the many times before. The water was cool and felt amazingly refreshing. They swam and splashed, playing like children. It wasn’t long before the worries of the outside world had vanished and it was just them, as they had been; perhaps with a few more soft kisses shared, but it felt like it had been for years.
They relaxed on the shore and rested against the large tree that shaded the pool during the day. They drank wine and fed each other crumbles of cheese. They cuddled and drank in the peace of each other’s company.
“You know,” Trevor broke the silence. “This wasn’t all my idea.” (Y/N) turned to look at him, confused written across her face. “Father told me that he came here with Mother before they were married. He said that his father had done the same, and his father before him. It’s kind of a tradition.”
“ Your father, Reinhart? The embodiment of honor? That ‘your father’?” (Y/N) was dumbstruck.
“Yes, that ‘my father’,” Trevor laughed. Lord, it felt good to hear him laugh. His strong voice, the way it rumbled in his chest where she lay her head.
“Trevor, tomorrow, I think we should tell your family about the caves. With everything going on, a hiding spot might not be a bad thing.”
“Way ahead of you. I told my father weeks ago, after Julius was attacked. We just got back the day before you arrived, stocking up on provisions. Everything will be okay, (Y/N). I promise. This isn’t the first time our family has been in this situation. It will blow over, and everything will go back to normal,” Trevor said.
(Y/N) closed her eyes, listening to the sound of Trevor’s heartbeat. His arms encircled her and held her close. “I also spoke to my father about what will happen after we are married,” Trevor spoke quietly.
“What about?” (Y/N) asked.
“I was thinking that we could take over the west watchtower ruins. I know it isn’t a fancy keep, but we could make it a home. One of our own. Now that all four of us boys will be married off, and with children on the way, it would be quieter.”
“As long as we’re together, I don’t care where we are.” At this, Trevor kissed the top of her head. “Is this about what my stepmother said?” (Y/N) questioned.
“Maybe a little, maybe a lot. I don’t know.”
“I’m marrying you . Not money, not a keep, not a title. I’m marrying a man. The man that stole my heart and the man that wants to steal my soul.”
“Wasn’t your soul included in your dowry?”
“Afraid not.” They both laughed.
“Where is your stepmother, anyway? Not that I’m complaining, but shouldn’t she be here?”
“No, she’s in Târgoviște, visiting family. She’s been there for most of our engagement.” Both were silent for a time before Trevor shifted them to lay on the bedrolls. (Y/N) raised an eyebrow at Trevor. He only smiled and kissed her forehead. “We are just cuddling.”
“It had been my experience, Belmont, that ‘just cuddling’ with you is rarely the case.”
“Shh, wife. I want to lay beside you as I sleep.”
“We aren’t married yet.”
“We are married in all but name,” Trevor grumbled. “Besides, if we did do something, it would get us past the virgin sacrifice bit.”
“You, sir, are a bad, bad man. I don’t know why my father ever agreed to such a union,” (Y/N) haughtily replied,
“Says the woman who scaled a tree to sneak away with such a bad, bad man.”
“This is also true. I suppose that we are perfectly suited, then.”
“Well then, perfectly suited husband, kiss me goodnight.”
And Trevor did, again and again. He ran his fingers through her hair, keeping his touches light and innocent. They fell asleep in each other’s arms.
The smell of smoke woke them. The surrounding woods were filled. They could hear shouting, but they didn’t know where the fire was. They followed the trail back, keeping low as the smoke got thicker, and the shouting louder still.
The keep was ablaze and men were fighting. (Y/N) looked at Trevor in confused horror. Trevor grabbed (Y/N) by her shoulders. “Go to the far side of the keep. Maybe someone got out. Get them to the mountain pass. Go, now.”
(Y/N) grabbed his arm. “Where are you going?”
“To help my father. You have to go. I can’t do this if I have to worry about you too. Go.” (Y/N) took off, heading to the thin trail that wrapped around the keep and tried to stay out of sight. No one was trying to put out the fires. More than one man in priest robes passed her with blades and maces in hand. Some were covered in blood but moved easily; it wasn’t their blood.
(Y/N) didn’t understand what was happening. Why would men be attacking the keep? It had to be because of the rumors. She made it to the path that would lead her to the east side gate. She found Julius laying on the ground. He gasped and flinched as she rolled him over, his guts nearly pouring out of the deep wound in his stomach. He wouldn’t live much longer. (Y/N) wept. He deserved so much better than this. Julius mustered the last of his strength to grab her hand. She sat with him in his final moments, she didn’t want him to die alone. Tasha was only a little farther up the trail with eyes staring blankly at the sky above her.
(Y/N) continued up the game trail slowly. She and Trevor had made the trip so many times that she could make it blindfolded. Maria was the next she found. She had been beaten to death, her red hair was plastered in blood, half of her was was caved in. (Y/N) checked her round belly and there were no signs of life from her womb. (Y/N) didn’t know if she could handle any more, everyone was dead or dying. She stood on shaky legs. Trevor had asked her to do this. She took one step, and then another. She could no longer hear fighting behind her. She moved along the trail, the world around her was silent. And then she heard a grunt and a pained whimper. (Y/N) cut through the woods towards the sound. It was a ways off of the trail, so she picked her way carefully as she went.
There, in a small clearing, was Anya and Sonia. Anya had gone into labor, it was too soon. She wasn’t due for another month or two. Sonia looked panicked, she was trying desperately to keep Anya quiet. (Y/N) snapped a twig underfoot and both women’s eyes snapped immediately to her. (Y/N) ran to Anya to see if she could do anything. Anya was weak and growing weaker. There was so much blood, there shouldn’t be that much blood. Sonia seemed to know this too. She had never seen Sonia cry, and here she sat and wept. Anya didn’t have the strength to even squeeze her hand. She didn’t know what to do. She checked Anya to see if she could see something. She could, the baby was crowning. ‘Come on, (Y/N). What would Julius do?’
She had Sonia sit behind Anya to prop her up. Sonia snapped out of her daze. “You have to push her knees up, love. Now spread her legs, good girl. Anya, sweetheart, we need you to push. Can you do that? Anya?” Anya was out, her breathing was almost nonexistent, pulse weak. Sonia told (Y/N) to move. Sonia sat between Anya’s legs and moved her skirts out of the way. (Y/N) couldn’t watch. She sat and held Anya’s hand as she cried silently. Until she heard a weak cry. She looked up as Sonia held a little baby, its weak cries giving her hope. (Y/N) unwrapped Anya’s shawl to wrap the baby; a little girl. She looked to Sonia again. “Get to the mountains. I have to go and find Trevor. I have to-” She didn’t finish her sentence. She didn’t have to.
“Go, find him, but be careful,” Sonia said, hugging her. (Y/N) turned and ran for the keep. The fighting was done, but the carriage remained. There were so many bodies, so many strangers, but some were familiar. No Reinhart, no Simon, no Trevor. Her father and brother were not amongst the bodies either. She didn’t know if that was good or bad news. She had to find them. She looked at the keep, flames still poured from the windows. Only a few hours ago, she was happy, they all were. Now, nothing was right. She prayed that they were alive. She kept praying as she made the long walk to the village in the dark, unarmed.
The village was almost in revels, drinking and singing was prominent. Half of her family was dead and they were rejoicing. (Y/N) felt ill. She made it to the outskirts where the Speakers’ train was. At least it looked like they had not been attacked. She knocked on the elder’s door. There was shuffling and the sound of something heavy being moved. The elder opened the door. She must have looked a fright, she was covered in blood and dirt. He ushered her in and closed the door behind her. He grabbed a cloth and a bucket of water, handing them to her before he found a bar of soap. (Y/N), in sobbing tears, tried to wash up the best that she could. The elder left for a few moments and came back with a set of Speaker robes. He wordlessly helped her change. He knelt down and washed the blood from her legs. She summarized what she knew of the recent events. The elder was quiet for a moment, and then explained what had happened. The village had fought their way into the armory and took weapons as evidence, but they were after her. They wanted to save her. They started the fires to try to smoke Trevor out. This was her fault. If she had cancelled the wedding, this could’ve been prevented. She couldn’t afford to think like that. She needed to figure this out. The Speaker was talking about prisoners.
“The Belmonts, child. They took several of them as prisoners.”
“The cathedral, but you can’t go there. They are looking for you.” Damn it. How was she supposed to help them? She needed more information. “I have to go and find out more.” She stood up. “Your people may not want to stay long. Once they are finished with the Belmonts, you may be next.”
“We will wait until after the trial.”
“Yes, tomorrow morning. Honestly, child. You’re usually hanging on every word.”
“Keep the children inside, especially the two troublemakers. The last thing you need is for the Church to start screaming, ‘Witch!’” With that, she left. She tucked her hair back and pulled up her hood. She needed to know everything by morning, and the sun would be coming up soon. She sent a prayer Sonia’s way and headed back into the village.
The town was filled with contradicting stories. All of the Belmonts were dead, all of the Belmonts were imprisoned, some of them got away to report to their demon masters, they themselves were the demons; there was the occasional person that was quiet, like the last family that Julius had helped, the tavern mistress whose own husband had been a Belmont. (Y/N) found the friar who had maintained the little chapel. He had always been kind to her. He knew even less than she did. She told him about Julius, Tasha, Anya, and Maria’s deaths. She didn’t say a word about Sonia or the baby. He brought her some bread and honey and made tea. They shared the small breakfast together before heading to the trial.
The trial was not a trial. There stood her father, the three surviving Belmont boys, and their father. Reinhart had taken a beating, more than likely torture. She saw him favoring one of his sides. The bishop stood and proclaimed their guilt. No one was allowed to argue otherwise. She moved to speak, but a hand covered her mouth. She turned to see her brother. He placed his finger over her lips, telling her to stay silent. She nodded and turned to face the trial again.
The bishop had already made up his mind. They were to be excommunicated from the Church and then burnt at the stake. From this day forth, all Belmonts and Trantouls were excommunicated and deprived of all land, titles, and property as well as executed, with the exception of Joyce Trantoul; she had brought forth the claims and charges. She and her son would claim Trantoul Hall. That bitch . That heartless, selfish, bitch . The feeling of guilt came back. She couldn’t deal with that right now. She needed a plan. She walked out with her brother, both of them with their heads low. They headed back to the friar.
“But why excommunication?” (Y/N) asked.
“Because with it, upon their deaths, they will be automatically be barred from entering Heaven,” the friar stated.
“I was to be married today. I should be putting on my dress right now. I should have Anya and Tasha with me as Sonia and Maria move the boys along. And now? Now I’m supposed to watch him be burned to death, along with my father and what was my soon-to-be family. What kind of god permits that? They are good people. Julius was a good man. Anya, Tasha, and Maria were good people. Why is an evil woman rewarded at their expense? It isn’t fair. It’s all my fault. If I hadn’t run off… If I had married the man she chose... If I had cancelled the wedding… Everyone would still be alive and safe.” (Y/N) collapsed under the weight of it all, her body wracked with sobs. Her brother tried to console her, but there was nothing to say; nothing could make this right.
That night, the friar dressed her as a woman of the Church and brought her down to the dungeons. There were two guards on duty, both lazy and fat. The axes beside them, however, looked sharp enough to deter any bad ideas. The friar said that he was there to give the men their last rights and to hear of their sins. He was told to keep it down and that there was to be no funny business while being handed the keys.
He walked down the line of cells, looking into windows until he found the room that he was searching for. He opened the door quietly and pulled (Y/N) through the doorway. He then turned her to look at him. “I can give you two a couple of hours, but no more. And keep quiet, or we will be joining them tomorrow.” He walked out and locked the door behind him. (Y/N) turned to the room and there, on a cot, laid her Trevor looking more confused than she’d ever seen him.
(Y/N) pulled back her hood ad ran to Trevor. He caught her in his arms, holding her as tightly as he dared. She clung to him, tears streaming down her cheeks. She pulled acl slightly to take a moment to commit his face to memory.
Still clinging to him, she buried her face into his chest. “This is all my fault,” she half sobbed.
“No, Kitten. This isn’t your fault. Why would you think that?” Trevor consoled, trying to get her to look at him.
“If we had cancelled or postponed the wedding, or if I hadn’t run off, or if I’d married who she wanted me to, if I had done anything differently, everyone would still be alive. You wouldn’t be facing execution, you’d still have your family. It’s all my fault, I was selfish.”
Trevor held her tighter. “This isn’t your fault, it’s hers. She likely would have done it anyway so she could land her son an estate.” He was probably right. Still, she held onto him, not wanting the moment to end.
Trevor was the first to break the heavy silence. “(Y/N), you shouldn’t be here.”
“I don’t care. I don’t care what they do. It’s supposed to be my wedding night. I won’t let them take it from me. Not this too,” (Y/N) whispered. She pulled the cloak off and then stood before him, naked.
“(Y/N), we can’t This isn’t right.”
“What about his entire situation is right? We are both damned in the eyes of the Church. What harm could this really do? I want you, Trevor. I need you. And we only have tonight. Don’t glower at me. Yes, you may have a plan to get out. You may succeed. And if so, I’d never be happier to say I was wrong. But I don’t want to take that chance, so please, Trevor. Please make me yours.”
How the hell was he supposed to say ‘no’ to that? He couldn’t. It might’ve very well been the closest he’d ever get to Heaven. “Alright, (Y/N). You win, but we are going to do this right.” Trevor took hold of both of her hands and looked directly into her eyes. “I, Trevor Belmont, hereby swear my undying love for you, (Y/N) Trantoul. You are my heart and soul, and I could never love another more. You are my perfect other half, the other half I never knew that I was missing until I found you. You are my everything, and I vow to love you until my final breath.”
(Y/N) couldn’t stop the tears. “I, (Y/N) Trantoul, hereby pledge my undying love for you, Trevor Belmont. You are my strength when I feel weak, my joy when my heart fills with sadness. I could never love someone the way I love you. You are my everything, and I vow to love you until my heart no longer beats and my body no longer draws breath. I shall love you for as long as I live.”
Trevor pulled (Y/N) to him and kissed her. Both of them poured every ounce of emotion that they could into that one kiss. Trevor knew that the situation was hopeless, but they could have the next couple of hours. He picked (Y/N) up and laid her down on the thin cot. They had been so close to this so many times, with him dreaming of it at least a hundred times more. He settled between her legs and broke the kiss to leave butterfly kisses down her neck.
(Y/N) was growing impatient. She needed him, and she was terrified that they’d be interrupted. She used both hands to undo his leggings and shifted them past his hips, freeing his already hard cock. She wrapped her fingers around him and slowly stroked up and down. She felt more than heard Trevor’s gasp as his teeth grazed her neck. His lips thrusted in time with her movements.
Trevor was shocked, he hadn’t expected her to do that. He knew that they didn’t have time for all of the niceties that he wanted; but he wanted to savor every moment they had. He trailed kisses to breasts, lavishing them with moments of attention before moving back to her lips. He brought one hand down her thigh, stroking circles on her inner thigh. She spread her legs further apart, and with him in hand, she guided him in. Trevor paused for a moment. “Are you sure? This will hurt.”
“Not as much as losing you.” (Y/N) brought his lips back down to hers. Trevor worked in small strokes, pressing into her, inch by inch. Once she started to relax, he sped up the short thrusts slightly. She mewled against his lips, but he knew that the next part would hurt. Trevor wrapped himself around her, using her shoulders for leverage. In one hard thrust, he pushed past her maidenhead and hilted himself completely inside of her.
(Y/N) wasn’t fully prepared for the pinching pain. Her body stiffened for a moment and she bit down on his shoulder. The pain was over in moments. She looked up at Trevor.
Trevor looked down at (Y/N), not daring to move. She looked so beautiful. This was the moment he wanted to remember. “Now we are husband and wife.” She smiled at him, tears still trickling down her face. She was his now, for all the good it did either of them. He shifted his weight so that he could lay completely over, wanting to feel every inch of her body. His thrusts were slow and deep. (Y/N) clung to him and kissed him, his neck, his chest, always following each kiss with an “I love you.” It all seemed like too much, but not enough. He buried his face in her hair, felt his tears and hers. These moments may very well be the last ones they have together. He could feel her love pouring through his body. He wouldn’t last much longer. He could feel the telltale signs of his finish. He tried to hold it at bay for as long as he could. He knew they wouldn’t have much time left, he needed to feel her come undone around him. He needed that moment to hold onto while he was lead to his execution.
Trevor sat up just a bit, and raised her hips up an inch or two. He felt her whole body tremble as his cock drug across her walls, but it wasn’t enough. He thrusted faster, knowing would be harder for him to hold his own release at bay. He thumbed over her clit and watched her body respond. He leaned down to kiss her, swallowing her whimpers and moans. He knew that she was trying to be as quiet as possible. Damn the Church for taking that away from him as well. He could feel her walls tightening, making an already snug fit all but painful. He broke their kiss to look into her eyes. “I love you, (Y/N).” And with that the dam broke, and it was beautiful. The way her body shuddered and arched, the choked off moan of his name, her hair fanned across the threadbare pillow. The Church’s Heaven could never compete with this. And then his ending caught him off guard and unprepared. His body locked tight, back arching and then remained unmoving while he came. It took long moments to come down, and when he did, the high was crushed by the bitterness of reality. They laid in each other’s arms and wept for the life they would never have.
There was a thump against the door, a warning that their time was nearly up. Trevor helped her to her feet and assisting in dressing her. They stood by the door and shared their bittersweet final kisses. She begged him to let her stay, that she would face the end with him. He lied, saying that he had a plan, but it wouldn’t work if she was there. So desperate for that tiny hope, she believed him.
The door opened and she pulled up the hood of her cloak and stepped through. The friar that was with her pointed her to the cell that her father was in so that she could say her goodbyes. The friar then turned to Trevor. He pulled a small sack from beneath his robes and dropped it at Trevor’s feet. “Wait until I get her out before you move. I’ll have her at my cottage, do you remember it?” Trevor nodded. “Good. You’ll hear two doors close, then we’ll be out. There are only two guards and all of the cells are unlocked. Good luck.” With that, he left. A tiny hope started to grow in his chest. They would escape, they could run. He waited in the dark silence for the sound of two doors.
Chapter 24: Chapter 24
(Y/N) and the friar had just made it past the guards when there was an explosion that rocked the whole building. Dust drifted down from the ceiling as the oil lamps wavered on their hooks. (Y/N) pushed ahead to the outer door that stood slightly askew, pushing past into total chaos.
Her ears filled with the sound of screaming, some in panic, some in pain. Smoke filled the air, but never quite filling the room, she looked up to see part of the cathedral roof had collapsed. She could see bodies buried under the rubble. She pushed her way out the double doors to the village. Nothing could have prepared her for what she saw. People ran through the streets chased after by small winged demons, imps to be very specific. Well, this was unexpected. The friar pulled her back against a wall as the chimney from a house toppled where she had just been standing. The shock wore off. They were under attack, but why? No demon had ever been stupid enough to attack before. It didn’t matter, they were under attack and she was unarmed. She had to help organize anyone she could. She looked to the friar, “we need salt and holy water. He ran back into the cathedral. She grabbed a woman running from a burning building, preventing her from running headlong into a demon. She appeared singed but otherwise alright. The friar came back with a bucket of water. There was a large demon stomping towards them. (Y/N) picked up the bucket and ran towards it. Before she was within arms reach of the monster she threw the contents at it, its forward momentum preventing it from escaping. The water hit its face and chest. (Y/N) dropped to the ground covering herself in her cloak, just in time to avoid the thing exploding into a ball of fire and ichor. She stood and found several people staring at her. ‘Well, she had their attention.’ “Get to the cathedral, gather holy water and salt. If you can fight, fight, if you can not, hide in the walls of the cathedral and help the wounded. Now move.” She didn’t bother to check to see if they did as she told them, rushing to pick up a sword lying next to a priest. She took a few practice swings to test its weight and balance. It would have to do. She swung at and took the wings off a demon as it swooped down. It screamed and exploded. ‘Well, shit.’ It was consecrated, it would do indeed. Church be damned, she would save who she could, and send them to the cathedral.
Trevor helped Simon carry their father, Lord Trantoul leading the way. The guards had abandoned their posts to see what was going on. They needed to get out now while the friar’s distraction could be of some use. They made it out of the dungeon to walk into hell itself. People were pushing to get in. The Bishop’s men were trying to keep them out. Simon and Trevor set their father down against one of the pews. There was only one way in or out, and the could church could be damned. Both brother’s moved silently as they took out the three “priests” that were trying to bolt the doors closed. They helped pull people in before trying to move out. The village was a blazed and all manner of demon ran down the streets and flew in the air. Where had they all come from? The village had been warded for as long as any could remember unless the church had been foolish enough to take down those as well as the old church. Dammit. And (Y/N) was out there somewhere, and knowing her, probably in the deepest part of it.
Trevor looked at his brother, momentarily lost in all of it. He had to find her. His brother seemed to know where Trevor’s mind was going. “Go, find her. I’ll get the rest of us out of town.”
Trevor didn’t have to be told twice. He took off towards the friar’s cottage.
(Y/N) made it back to the cottage to find her brother trying to treat a woman and her small son. The boy looked whole, his scars would be mental and emotional. His mother, however, seemed to be missing an eye and had long rent down her back from claws. (Y/N) watched as Grant spoke to the woman and she nodded and picked up her son before laying down on the cot in the corner. She clung to him as he did her lips moving in silent prayer that they might live through the night.
“What the hell is going on out there.” Grants even ever-calm voice pulled her attention back to him. “
“The wards are gone, and the demons are out killing everything. But that’s not even enough of an explanation One maybe two yes, but there is an entire hoard out there.”
“Think it’s to make the Belmont’s look guilter? Help them hide an escape? Anything? You don’t think they could have done this, do you?”
“Grant.” (Y/N) looked at her brother, “No, and you know better. There is a better chance that our new mother with her Holy uncle was more to blame than this. But you are right, it’s no coincidence.”
Grant seized his sister by the shoulders. “What do we do?”
“We get the hell out of here. Go to the caves and regroup. Hopefully, they will have made it out of the dungeons by now, then they will come here and we can leave.”
“What about the villagers?”
“After what they did, what do you expect for me to do, save them?”
“What about the Speakers?”
Shit, (Y/N) had nearly forgotten that they were still on the outskirts of the village.”When they realize that we’re gone, the villagers will turn on them next. Grant, I have to get them out of here. Warn them, something.”
“Go, I’ll stay here and wait for the others, and pack up the friar. You go warn the Speakers and then get your ass back here.” The siblings shared a brief hug before (Y/N) dashed back out the doorway.
She followed the back streets and alleys back to the Speaker caravan. She only had to hide twice from demons on her way, as she moved further from the village center. That was odd in a way, something nagging at the back of her mind that it seemed wrong that they seemed to be so concentrated toward the center and so few to sweep up the ones that managed to escape. She pushed the thought away, there would be time for that later when they were safe.
As she approached the Speakers’ wagons she knew she had worried for not. They were well on their way to moving on before the hoard decided on a new target. She shared a quick few sentences with a few of the members before she found the Elder. He seemed so calm under the circumstances, except for a few pinched creases in his forehead she wouldn’t have been able to guess that he was at all concerned. She briefly explained what she knew of the situation and advised them to head towards the stablemaster’s, Nothing in this world or the next would have talked Gillen into removing the wards that guarded his property. She took the water skin that the Elder offered, drinking deeply while he begged her to join them. Trevor was smart, if he knew where she was, he would know where she would go with the Speakers. It tore at her that she should go, protect them, and he was right Trevor would figure it out. She looked back out at the village, could still hear the screams as the demons fell upon the villagers. Her’s and Trevor’s families were still in that, she couldn’t leave them. Not when they were this close. Some of them had been hurt, they would be moving too slowly, an extra sword arm or bow could mean the difference between escaping and dying in some last stand. With a heavy sigh, the Elder knew what her answer would be before she could even vocalize it. He hugged her close and asked that she be careful, before letting her go. She took one last look at the Elder and the wagons, told him to be on the move within the hour, as when dawn approached the demons would leave, but what was left of the villagers would be hunting for anything or anyone they could find to blame.
She picked her way back through the village. They should have arrived at the friar’s by now, and they had to move for the same reasons she had told the Elder. In the east she could just barely make out the faintest line of grey, the sun would crest the horizon in little more than an hour and they needed every moment to put some distance between them and the village.
“Well well well, look what we have here. If it isn’t the little virgin herself.” (Y/N)’s blood ran cold as she heard the voice behind her. “I think you’re right,” came a second voice to her left. Someone stepped out of a doorway in front of her, as another came up and grabbed her arms from behind.
“What should we do with her?” Asked the one in front of her. He stepped out of the shadow, dressed in priest robes. ‘No, this couldn’t be happening.’
“Well, boys seems this little problem is all over this little bitch’s cunt. Maybe we should help her out. Can’t be sacrificed if she isn’t a virgin no more.”
It took a moment for her to comprehend what the man behind her said, making her renewed struggling a moment too late. She smashed her foot down on the one holding her, her heel connecting with his shin. It was enough to cause him to loosen his grip and she slid out of his hold and tried to move so she wasn’t surrounded. Too late. She felt a blade tear through cloth and flesh alike down her back. A second blow came from the side knocking her to the ground. The third was something blunt and heavy that collided with her jaw and temple. She could taste the coppery iron tang of her blood fill her mouth as she dropped flat to the ground. She tried to stay awake, to keep fighting as she felt something tearing the already torn robes down her back, felt the cool breeze on her legs as her body started going numb. She heard a voice yell her name just before the world went black.
Chapter 25: Chapter 25
Trevor worked his way over towards the friar’s cottage taking note of the village activity. By the well he found two priests blessing water while a third distributed it to villagers. He watched as one boy, who could not be more than 12, grab a cup full of water and rushed at a demon that had cornered, what Trevor presumed were his mother and sibling. The boy threw the water on to the demon and watched as it shrieked in pain before exploding. Trevor knew two things. The priests were real and not hired thugs of the church and two, (Y/N) had been through here. The women carrying bowls of salt and men with bows dipping arrows first in holy water, then in salt was a dead give away. The village might actually survive. He didn’t know if he was grateful for that or not. He doubted the boy and his mother had had anything to do with the attack on his family, but they had also not been there to help either.
Carefully he picked his way to the friar’s, only to find Grant bandaging the friar’s head as they looked over the burning remains of the cottage. He helped the friar to his feet, he was a tough old man, he’d be fine if he moved off. Grant, on the other hand, looked exhausted, his hands had a tremble to them and his eyes were ringed in dark circles. They exchanged a quick hug, a gesture that was both strange given their surroundings, and yet still spoke volumes to the compassion they felt for their joined circumstances. Grant sighed at Trevor's darting eyes, “she’s not here. She went to get the Speakers moving before the village turned on them.”
Damn that woman could that woman not stay still. “I have to find her. We need to leave now. Grant, I hate to ask, but do you think you could go help our father’s, they are pretty worse for wear?”
“I’ll head towards the Cathedral now. But what then, where are we going?”
“We have a spot in the mountains, a backup plan should this ever happen. My mother is on her way now with an infant. We will rest and recover while there and then figure out what to do from there.”
Grant nodded, “Well then you better go fetch that bride of yours before she runs away again.”
Trevor was off before Grant could finish his sentence. He had to find (Y/N) and then gather everyone together and then head out. It was a shaky plan at best, with far too many opportunities for something to go wrong. The Speaker wagons were packed and ready and the Elder seemed to be waiting for something. Trevor stopped short of the last wagon and walked towards the Speaker Elder. “Well, I see she missed you yet again.”
“(Y/N) is here?”
“Was. She went off to find you and your families. I told her that she should wait here, that you would be along shortly, but she didn’t listen. Now you are here, and she left maybe 10 minutes ago. This is why we teach and practice patience.”
“I have to go find her.” Trevor went to dash back into hell itself.
“Trevor?” The speaker’s voice catches his attention. “We have moved and shuffled people about. I assumed you would have wounded in your group and I know it may not be the fastest mode of transportation, but if you find need of a place to heal and move at the same time it is yours.” Trevor was touched by the simple nature of the action, no doubt brought about by the sweet nature of his wife. They cared for her as if she was one of their own and with it her family and his. His response was the physical reaction to that gesture as he hugged the Elder. It surprised him as much as it did the Speaker, but before either could say a word, Trevor was off to see to his family and wayward wife.
She couldn’t have gotten far, not in all that was going on. She would have tried to skirt the worst of it if she was trying to find him. She had seen the condition of his father and would have known Trevor and Simon would have moved him away from the worst of it, even if it was only to prevent Reinhart from trying to still defend the people. He would too. Even after they had slaughtered his family and destroyed their home, the man would stay it was the principle of the matter. “We are Belmonts,” he could almost hear the words now, “Fighting demons is what we do. If we let them take that from us then we are no better than the demons we fight.” Trevor had to fight the sad proud smile that found its way to his lips. He was about to continue that line of thought until he heard speaking and a familiar squeak. He walked around the back of a house to find men surrounding a woman in robes. He debated briefly if he should intervene until he heard one address the woman, his words coated in righteous horror. ‘Virgin Sacrifice, relieve her of that burden’, shit it was (Y/N). Trevor tried to move faster than the blade that cut down her back, called out her name as she screamed. His legs refused to move as he watched her hit the ground after she was struck. He yelled for her again when the other had stomped on her head. And just as everything had felt like it had been in slow motion one second, everything suddenly was moving as quick as lightning. He did not know when he had picked up the broken end of a broomstick, nor did he recognize the feel of it tearing through the back of the first man. He had his blade before the second could turn and face him, finding his head removed cleanly from his shoulders. The third took two steps back before he found the blade forced through his eye socket. Trevor only faintly felt the resistance the blade gave him when he tried to pull the blade back out but was stuck in the bone. The fourth took off as fast as his legs could carry him. Trevor might have gone after him if a small whimper had pulled him back to the present. It took him looking at (Y/N)’s crumpled form to realize that he had just killed three men with no more thought than a demon would have given. He felt dirty and sickened, but (Y/N) whimpered again, and he managed to pull himself back together. (Y/N) needed medical attention and he needed to move now. He lifted her up in his arms, careful of the gash in her back as he rewrapped the robes back around her the best he could. He sprinted as fast as he could without drawing attention to himself, back the way he had come. The Elder saw him coming and was already calling to people to bring medicine and bandages. Trevor came to a stop before the last wagon as a woman opened the door, and three people came out to grab (Y/N) from his arms and bring her inside. He had almost fought them as they reached for her, but the Elder’s voice came through the fog that was his mind. “Trevor, Trevor you need to let go, they need to clean the wounds. Does her brother still live?”
“What?” Trevor tried as he was trying to sort his thoughts from his primal instinct to protect what was his.
“Her brother, she said he had some healing magic, does he still live?” The Elder tried again, the pillar of unwavering patience in all the chaos.
“Yes.” Trevor managed before he realized what the Speaker was implying. Grant, Grant could save her. He needed to find Grant. “I’ll fetch him, but start heading towards the Stable Master’s farm. I will send Grant as fast as I can with the others. Head there and we will regroup and then we can go find my mother.”
The elder laid a firm hand on Trevor’s shoulder. “We shall see you there. Be careful.”
And with those words, Trevor dashed back into the Hell he had successfully escaped twice now. He knew his third time would not go as easily.
It took near forever to find Grant, and when he did he knew his world was ending. Grant knelt next to his father’s body, which sat propped against a half crumbled wall. He slowed as he took in the scene, blood pooled around his father slowly, his skin already paling to a blue-grey. There would be no saving him. A spear shaft was driven between his ribs. Red froth gathering at his lips as he tried to reassure Grant that he’d had worse, that he just needed rest. Trevor fell to his knees before his father, taking the elder’s already cool hand. “Ahh Trevor, did you find your bride?”
Trevor knew he couldn’t tell him that she was dying on the other side of the village. “She’s with the Speakers. Where is (Y/N)’s father and Simon?”
Grant answered his question as Reinhart started taking trembling shallow breaths, “They didn’t make it.” Trevor could tell by the tone of his voice that Grant was trying desperately to keep his voice calm and his focus on what was in front of him. “There were children trapped in a building and fire. They jumped in to try and save them. The heat…” Grant swallowed past the lump in his throat. “There was so much fire, and smoke and then a low rumble and the building collapsed. We couldn’t….Trevor, I’m sorry.”
Trevor sat as he tried to take it in. His family was dying, brothers dead, his father dying. He had failed to keep (Y/N) safe, or her father. How could he face her after this? “You’ll rebuild, that’s what we do.” His father's calm lucid voice breaking through the pain and inner turmoil. “Your mother still lives, and she has my granddaughter. You still live and you and (Y/N) will rebuild the family line. She is your home now. You will rebuild.”
“The house is gone, we have nothing left.”
“You will have each other and that’s all that matters. A house is just stone and timber, what you have is stronger than any house or castle. Take care of each other, and spoil my granddaughter rotten. Tell your mother, I loved her to my last breath.”
“We can still move you, get you to the Speakers, you could…”
“No, I’m done. I can feel it. I can feel my heart slow, and I have lost feeling in my legs. Minutes more. But I’m selfish and don’t wish to die alone. Can you do that for me, stay with me until the end?”
Trevor took a tighter grip on his father’s hand, tears spilling over as he nodded. He looked to Grant. “(Y/N) needs you. Go North as fast as you can and you should catch them quickly on the road. They will head towards Braila. I will meet you there after I fetch my mother. Go.” Grant insisted that he take care of Trevor's face before he moved on. "(Y/N) would never forgive me if I let her marry a gargoyle." "It's not that bad is it?" "Terrifying, actually," Grant replied with a smile. He always tried to defuse any tension around him. "Here let me take a look." Trevor could feel a thin flow of magic come from the other man, and his the skin of his face itch and feel tight for a moment. "Normally I'd be able to heal it completely, but I have done myself in. There will be a nasty scar, but at least it won't get infected or reopen." They shared a silent look before nodding and Grant left to go tend to whatever damage his sister had taken.
Trevor sat with his father, sharing happy memories together until the end. He wished he could have given him a proper burial, but he could only be grateful for the short time they had had and had not been interrupted. He moved back out the village. Along the way, he found the friar, parts of him anyway. Dawn was rapidly approaching the sun’s warm glow still just behind the mountains, but the sky a soft pale pink light was still there. The hoard would dissipate and with it the villagers’ fear with it. Then anger would take hold and they would start hunting for anything that they could blame this tragedy on. He clutched the pack his father had given him before he passed to his chest. The last pieces of their legacy. He took a deep breath. He still had to find his mother, then they could go find the Speakers. He had to move.
Chapter 26: Chapter 26
It took several hours to make it out of the village and up the road, catching up with the Speaks about mid-morning. He was beyond exhausted, tapped out from the night prior combined with the rush of fleeing, drained of all adrenaline. If someone had not been watching for him he may have collapsed on the road unnoticed. As it was he was in no shape to be of much assistance to his sister. The speakers had paused in their own escape only long enough to usher him into the wagon cleared for (Y/N)’s use. A second Speaker had brought him water and bread and dried meat to help him regain his strength. The wagon had started moving before his feet had hit the ground outside. Grant managed to check his sister’s vitals as he drank as much water as he could. His throat too raw and dry to try to eat anything for fear of choking. (Y/N) was still and pale, barely a shade darker than the yellowed sheets she laid on. He took small hope in the fact she still breathed, and her extremities had not started to grey. Her fingertips were still a soft pink. With that reassurance, he curled up beside her and drifted off to sleep.
He woke hours later to his sister’s steady breathing, yet she had not moved. He needed to assess the damages before he could begin to a formulate a plan of action. Gingerly, he pushed back her hair from the knot over her bruised temple. Swollen and an angry shade of purple, but the skull underneath still felt intact which was a good sign. Next came the condition of her back. Trevor had told him it was extensive, and even the Speakers had said that it was beyond their skill. Carefully he shifted (Y/N) on to her side to look at the mass of rags wrapped around her whole back. The blood had seeped through and covered the sheets underneath. She had lost a lot of blood, and in the direction, they were traveling, he would need to stop it quickly before she slowly bled out, or they attracted unwanted attention. He could tell that some were going to have stuck to her skin, and he would need to soak them to loosen them without doing further damage. He would need to clean the wounds and possible stitch things back together. He hoped the edges were smooth and had not dried out. He didn’t have enough magic to completely heal her, he had wasted too much energy the night before, and it would take some time to completely recover enough to be of any real help. Now he had to conserve his energy to make sure she didn’t bleed out or develop a fever. He made his way to the back of the wagon and opened the top of the dutch door to peer out. Fresh air would also help. He was surprised to see two younger children trailing behind, looking both eager and hopeful with the opening of the door. Both faces seemed to fall a bit when the realized it was just him. Again he was touched by the concern and care they had for his sister. The Speakers were reclusive, more a series of tightly woven clusters, but still a closed community to the outside world. The fact that they had opened themselves up to his sister spoke well of her. He had, of course, heard the stories of his sister’s grand adventure. Still, it was something to see their open concern and adoration for his sibling. He requested clean water and fresh wrappings if possible. He hadn’t expected them to pull over and make camp. Nor had he expected three women to come with bandages, ointments and fine needles and thread. So they had a basic knowledge of what needed to be done, but not the skill. He was grateful that they had not made the attempt. The gash was long and deep, nearly to the bone in some places. Her spine was still intact, as were all of her vitals. It was a nasty flesh wound, but if the muscles were not stitched up correctly, (Y/N) would be crippled for the rest of her life. No this was slow delicate work that was only made slightly easier without the rocking of the wagon. It took hours to mend everything back u, even with using the last of his energy to stop all the bleeding. The women found an oil cloth to drape over her back and soaked rags in the river that was a short distance away. The cold would help keep the swelling down. By dark, (Y/N)’s complexion had started to pink back up and her body was not quite so cold. If she managed to live through the night, the worst would be behind her. It would be a long and difficult road to recovery, but that was still an uncertain future. He watched as her breathing continued, deep and even. She had not developed a fever, but he would remain by her side. All he could do was wait for her to wake up.
It was shortly before noon the next day when the caravan made it to the stable master. Grant was less than sure that the man could be trusted after he had seen in the village. Those people had once idolized the Belmont family, and look how that had ended. No, better to be safe than sorry. Grant was not sure what to tell the man, other than the Belmonts were dead and the village sacked. But he had to think of something.
He bagged what few valuables he had on his person, including his sister’s jewelry. He paused for a moment at the ring on her finger. He looked at the Belmont crest worked in silver and gold. His sister would kill him if she woke and found that he had sold the ring. It was all she had left, and he would not take that from her.
Gilen had all but retired, leaving his two sons in charge of most of the farm and business, leaving him mostly to his own devices. He would have been at the wedding himself if he had not fallen from a horse he was breaking. Fool thing had startled at a stick and thrown him onto a fence breaking a few ribs on landing. Nothing serious, however, he couldn’t sit a horse for the trip to the village. Instead, he had sent his wife and eldest son, with the hopes that the boy might find a girl of his own. He had yet to hear about the village, and it fell to Grant to tell him. There was hope, they had been staying with friends on the far side of the village, still an hour or so away from the village, they could have been spared, but would still have to travel through the village to come back. They would have stopped to help any they could. Gilen’s wife was as tough as nails, her mother having been Reinhart’s aunt. Belmont blood didn’t go down without a fight. Grant held back the knowledge of the trial and excommunication. If the stablemaster’s family survived, they could fill him in on the details.
“But what of your sister, and the Belmont boy?"Gilen asked. He knew when someone was hiding bits of a story. As the father of two boys, he could tell that the story presented him was not the full truth. He didn’t want to believe that the ma" before him was withholding important information, however, perhaps glossing over details in his grief.
Grant had been trying to decide how much he could trust the man before him. On one side, he could have a safe place to mend his sister, on the other a place for someone to sneak up on them. Gilen held a warm place of honor with his sister, but it wasn’t enough. He had watched people that his sister had trusted for years butcher her beloved’s family. No, he would only trust the Speakers and any remaining Belmonts. But he would make sure that if Trevor was to follow, he would know the lie, even if Gilen did not. “ I don’t know where Trevor is if he made it out. The last I saw of him he was with his father who was gravely wounded. He told me to look after the Speakers, it was what (Y/N) would have wanted. She, was in the keep when the attack started. She didn’t make it.” There, Trevor would know it was a lie from the get-go.
Gilen just shook his head. (Y/N) had been a sweet and vibrant girl, and the world a little less bright for its loss. He traded gold for the little Grant had to trade, giving him nearly triple what they were worth. (Y/N) would have wanted him to take care of her brother. In her name, he presented Grant with one of his best stallions, one that he had been saving for (Y/N), a spirited animal.
Grant felt guilty for his lie and having to take Gilen’s abundant generosity. It was clear now that his sister had been well liked by the man, however, it was too late to change his mind. He and the Speakers spent the rest of the afternoon and evening on the edge of the farm resting the horses and getting their bearings. They left first thing the next morning, heading towards the mountains, and away from the Church.
Three days in (Y/N) still hadn’t woke. She would toss and turn, and cry out as if she was trapped in a nightmare than Grant could not wake her from. Her color had continued to improve, and her wounds were healing well, yet her eyes never opened. The elder had helped him pour milk and broth down her throat, however, she was still losing weight. If she did not wake soon, she would soon die despite their best efforts. Grant had thought at first it may have been her head injury, but surely she had taken worse hits. Part of him wondered if she didn’t want to wake, that part of her was trying to hide from the realities of the situation, but her regular terrors and sobbing spoke of her reliving the events over and over again in her head.
Another week past and (Y/N) was so gaunt that if she did not wake in the next couple days, Grant would be forced to end her life, she would be too far gone, there wouldn’t be anything left to save. She would be too weak, her body and mind starved to the point of no return. He had only seen one case of someone waking after this long. It had been a boy, no older than 15. He had fallen off his house trying to help his mother fix a leak in a roof. When he woke he could no longer speak, or control his movements. It was as if he had reverted back to an infant. The mother had hoped that his condition would improve, but after a year of having to hand feed him, change him and bathe him, she had decided it was too much. She had taken his life and her own. Grant did not want that for (Y/N), he would end it.
Chapter 27: Chapter 27
Trevor worked his way slowly to the mountain cave, stopping only to visit the pools to gather up a few previsions. He could not be that far behind his mother. She would have been moving slowly not to bring attention to herself and she had a newborn. He moved as quickly as he possible only to stop and rest for a few hours before moving on. A trip that usually took two days, he had managed in just over one.
Again misfortune met him. He noticed the first corpse some 20 feet from the cave entrance, and then the second one just a little further up the trail. The second one had a familiar dagger embedded in his neck. His mother had made it to the caves, but the bodies were too close to the cave, his mother would have removed them, and they were a few days old. Trevor could tell by the bloat of the second one, maybe a day or two gone. He hoped instead to find provisions missing and a new trail to follow leading him somewhere else. As he stepped past the second corpse he noticed a goat tied to a tree maybe 20 feet to the side, alive and snoozing peacefully. Perhaps there was hope. He stepped into the mouth of the cave. Everything looked to still be in order. He called out to his mother but heard nothing. His could feel hope slipping away as the ball of dread replaced it in his stomach.
Down a side path that lead to the spring pools, he found his mother. She looked to have taken a sword to the gut. A slow and painful death. It was too much. His father, brothers, his sisters and now his mother, gone. He was alone, the last Belmont. Dropping to his knees he gave in to the turmoil of emotions, the grief, rage and lost hope, and cried. They would never come back from this. His sobs echoed off the walls, surrounding him further into his sorrow, that he nearly missed the weak mewl from further in the cave.
He moved as silently as he could, trying to follow the noise, and there she was. A small bundle wrapped in a shawl and blanket completely soaked through, tucked away in a shallow divot. She was tiny, cold, soiled, and probably starving. First things first he had to figure out how to clean her up and get her warm. He moved her back into the front area and found a basket and a couple blankets. He quickly bundled her up and started building a fire. Once the cave was warming he managed to find a small pot to warm up some water to wash her up. Bless his mother for having the foresight to bundle up some baby clothes. Next came the challenge of feeding her. He had no idea how to feed her or what to feed her. The sound of small hooves on the stone floor brought him up short. Of course, the goat. His mother was a genius. But that was only part of the equation. He didn’t know what to put the milk in, and he had never milked a goat before. An empty wineskin could hold it, but she wouldn’t be able to drink, he’d have to put a small hole in the bottom corner. Perhaps that might work if he could figure out how to milk the animal.
He had watched some of the maids he pursued when he was younger, milk cows. How hard could it be? He dug around and found a pail, and washed it with some hot water. Now came the difficult part. He placed the bucket under the goat and kneeling down, grabbed a teat and tugged. That was not what the goat was expecting and kicked out with both of its back legs and screaming before twisting her neck around and biting him. Damned cloven-hooved demon. He righted the pail and sat down. He had fought werewolves and vampires, he would not be outdone by a damn goat. He petted the goat as to calm her speaking in pleasant tones about how she was going to work with him or be roasted on the spit, her choice. The goat seemed to calm but watched him from the corner of her creepy little eye. He slowly moved his hands down to hold two teats. The goat didn’t seem to care. Carefully he squeezed and pulled down gently and was rewarded with a small stream of milk. He whooped in triumph, which startled the goat into kicking the pail over before pissing all over the floor. Trevor rewashed the bucket and the washed down the udders before trying again, this time keeping his joy to himself. He only had to save the pail once more, and after a few minutes, he had enough milk to feed his niece. He looked forward to having to explain this all to (Y/N) when he saw her next. He could almost hear her laughter.
After putting the milk in an empty and clean wineskin he poked just enough of a hole in the corner for a dribble to come out. It took some coaxing to get the baby to latch on, but once she got the hang of it she drank about half of what he managed to milk. After he remembered that he was supposed to burp the baby, this he could do. And was again quite proud of himself when she burped the first time. Not so much when she did the second and with it came spit up. It amazed him that anyone would want children after being spit upon. As he tried to clean himself off, he noticed a warm spot on his leg he looked down to see a wet spot on his knee, he had forgotten the nappy when he had wrapped her, and what must go in, must come out, and apparently on him. He would think long and hard before trying to talk to (Y/N) about having children.
Chapter 28: Chapter 28
And so became the routine for the next few weeks. Milk goat, feed the baby clean baby, keep the cave warm, feed goat, and sleep when he could. When he managed he looked through the supplied to figure out his next course of action. Rinse, repeat. On the plus side, the baby was thriving. Soon she’d be able to make the trip. To where he wasn’t sure. He’d start at Gilen’s and from there he would have a better idea of what to happen next. He needed to make a decision soon. The weather wouldn’t hold forever. A few more days passed, just to make sure that his niece would survive the long trip he prepared for them to leave. He had moved the two attackers off into the woods, let nature have them. He had buried his mother and then worked to reorganize the stock in the cave. He made sure to move all the valuables in the furthest most cave. It was a twisted maze and only someone that knew the caves would ever find it. There was a chance that (Y/N) was even now fighting her way to him. Or the off chance that someone else had made it in all the chaos. He knew no one else had made it, but false hope was still better than no hope at all. He made a small bundle to carry with, and a sling of sorts to carry the baby. He made sure that the leash on the goat was strong and not frayed, he could not afford losing it. On the final morning, he took one last look at the cave and surrounding areas. He was careful to make sure that someone that had never been there would not see anything wrong, However, someone that knew the area would know that he had been here. With that, he wrapped his niece and placed her in the sling so that he would have both hands free and started to make his way towards the Stablemaster’s farm.
(Y/N) knew she was moving, she just couldn’t tell how. For the moment she seemed lucid in her mind, but she could not make herself wake. She could feel her body swaying, could hear voices, but could not make them out. She felt pain like she never knew rack her body, and at times had allowed herself to let the darkness take her than to deal with it. ‘Dreams within dreams,’ she mused. She was not awake so this must be a dream, right? Or was it all just different nightmares, this being the one she could not wake from. She felt her body be moved and shifted and then the searing pain in her back before everything shifted and faded away.
(Y/N) woke in the clearing by the pools, soft cool grass be neither. She heard splashing and looked to her left and she saw Trevor. She heard his laugh, pulling the corners of her lips into a smile. In his arms was a boy, no more than 6. Their son. She knew that like she knew her own name. It was their son, and her husband playing on a warm summer day. Trevor made his way to her, son riding piggyback. He sat down beside her and placed a hand on her rounded belly. “What do you say to a girl this time, hmm?”
(Y/N) laughed, “I think your a little late, dearest, you’ll get what we get.”
Trevor nuzzled her swollen tummy, “Hey you in there? Wanna come out and play? We have a bet going that if you're a girl, mom will have to change all your nappies, but if you're a boy, I’m gonna get one of your uncles to do it.”
(Y/N) laughed again, “I don’t remember agreeing to any such bet. And I am pretty sure your brothers didn’t either.”
“That’s because you all know I’m right, and it’s a girl,” Trevor smirked.
“I know no such thing. Julius is certain it will be another boy, and he was right the first time. You aren’t going to be too terribly disappointed if its a boy are you?”
“Love, if it’s another boy, I will love and cherish him. And patiently wait out the days to try for another girl.” He looked down at her belly, “On second thought, you should probably be a boy, little one, otherwise mommy might not let me practice anymore.”
(Y/N) Swatted him away laughing, “Off with you, you hormone on legs. Haven’t even delivered one and you are trying to put another in there.”
She knew this was a dream, she couldn’t remember why, but she knew it was all a lie. She didn’t care. She could die happily like this. She closed her eyes. She could feel something shift. She knew what this meant as well. She opened her eyes and the sky was black with embers floating in the air. She could smell the smoke. She was back at the fire. She had relived this a few times, but something felt off. She felt something tugging at her and looked down to blood and gore. A demon between her legs feasting itself on her unborn child. She screamed as pain racked her body. This was not that night. She looked up to her son hanging from the trees by his entrails. She turned to the pools to find them filled with blood. Trevor’s headless body floating on the surface. She screamed. She felt someone shake her body, a soft voice. She tried to follow the voice, willing herself to find it, to wake. She knew it was someone familiar, and she wanted to be out of here. She closed her eyes and tried to focus. She felt herself move and she was standing.
She opened her eyes as she was jostled by the crowd. She stood in the village square before the gallows. Five nooses lined them, swaying in the gentle breeze. The Bishop’s men standing around keeping the town folk back, but armed with rotting food. She watched as they led her father and brother out as well as Trevor, Simon, and Reinhart. ‘No, that wasn’t right. They were supposed to be hung, but her brother wasn’t part of it, and there had been an attack. This isn’t right.’ She pushed her way through the crowd to get closer. The people begrudgingly letting her pass, not wanting to give up an inch of their spot in the public spectacle. She saw the bishop come out and stand beside the executioner. He refused them last rights and motioned for the lever to be pulled. She closed her eyes, not wanting to see, and the roar of the crowd blocked her from hearing their necks snap. She looked up at the executioner and watched as he took off his robe and hood, revealing her stepmother. Rage she didn’t know she could hold welled inside her, this may be a lie, but their deaths were on her hands. She would kill that bitch if it was the last thing she did. That woman would die a slow death for all the lives she had taken or ruined. She and her uncle would pay.
She blinked and she was in the caves. Trevor sat beside a fire, holding their niece. She watched as he cooed and smiled, telling her about all the adventures he had, with a great deal of embellishment. The babe seemed enraptured by his voice and she could understand why. Trevor had always had the perfect voice for speaking. It was rich and deep, with just the right amount of gravel to not lull a person to sleep. He looked so natural with the little girl, carefully burping her before changing her and swaddling her up to keep her warm. She watched as he placed her in a basket before walking out to feed a goat. ‘ Where the hell did he find a goat?’ He came back in and continued to speak in hushed tones to the baby, explaining that they would be leaving soon to catch up with her Aunt and Uncle. Then they could start rebuilding. (Y/N) hoped this was true. She had to figure out a way to wake up, or she would never see him again.
She turned and things blurred and darkened. She stood on the side of a road, it was pouring rain, and thunder could be heard in the distance. A strained gurgle came from below her. Grant laid at her feet, part of his throat torn out. She reached for him and he recoiled in fear. She heard the whip before it struck moving just a fraction of an inch out of the way before it struck where her face had been. She looked up at Trevor. He was weeping but still made ready to strike her again. She moved to dodge and found herself several feet from where she had been. She could see the faint shadow of herself that lingered over her brother. ‘NO’ She looked at Trevor, he had already recovered and moved to strike again. She held her hand up as if to ward off the blow. He hesitated for a moment, “Please, if there is anything of you left in that body, please let me do this. I’ll make it quick.” His voice was a plea, she could see his hands shake, could see his tears through the rain, Smell his sorrow and the blood that pumped through his veins. (Y/N) backed up a step, what had happened? It didn’t make any sense. She bit down on her bottom lip and felt the fangs break skin. She had been turned. She had killed her own brother. She was a monster. She looked up at Trevor. The tears of blood streamed down her face. She stepped closer, fighting the temptation to rush him, drain him. She could and turn him and eventually, he might forgive her. Then they could be together. ‘No.’ This was wrong, all wrong. She dropped to her knees, her body wracked with sobs. This was not how this was supposed to end. ‘This isn’t real.’ She heard the whip, the way it sliced through the air and rain. She didn’t have to look to hear it circle over her, gaining speed for a lethal strike. She Bowed her head, could hear its descent, his final words of love could almost feel the snap as it removed her head.
Chapter 29: Chapter 29
Well everyone, finally we are wrapping this up. One more chapter after this, and then we start book two.
I wanted to say thank you to everyone that stuck around for my extended hiatus, and to Thank you for all the kudos, and comments. Sometimes its the only reason why I found the desire to finish this. Thank you all. And I will have the last chapter of Runaway up soon, and then the next book, I believe is called Of Men and Vampires. Stick around, because, as promised, the evil step bitch gets whats coming to her.
(Y/N) jolted, back spasming as her back arched off the sweat soaked sheets. Her brother was beside her in an instant. Soothing words he was sure she didn’t hear and a damp cloth to wipe her brow. The fever had started the night before, a bad sign. He knew there was little he could do. She more than likely would not recover. She had been thrashing in her sleep, opening up some of her wounds and screaming. This would be the end of it. Either the fever would burn out and take her with it, or she had to wake. He mindlessly wiped her brow, deep in thought. So lost in thought, that he failed to see her eyes open.
(Y/N) watched as her brother wrung out the cloth and started wiping down her arms. Her throat was dry and raw. She barely had the strength to keep her eyes open. She was terrified if she blinked she would find that this was a dream as well. She focused on her brother. She had to believe this was real. That Trevor was coming for her. That she was awake and alive. It took all of her focus and strength to curl her fingers around Grant’s.
Grant stopped and looked up. Her eyes were open, and she seemed to be trying to smile. He couldn’t help the whoop that escaped his lips. It must have been enough because he could feel the wagon stop moving. He could hear someone running to the back, and heard the door open. He didn’t bother to look, too busy stroking his sister’s cheek as he murmured soft words to her. She tried to nod, but every little movement took so much energy, energy that she did not have. Not to mention pain, it was like her body was on fire.
Grant knew not to get his hopes up, they still didn’t know if her mind was still intact. He moved slowly so she could watch, her eyes tracking his every movement. He grabbed a small cup and dipped it in a pail of cool clean water. He held it to her lips, telling her to take small sips. She seemed to almost nod and parted her lips. He watched as she tried to swallow, her throat dry. He allowed her small sips, each time taking the cup away until she had swallowed, repeating the process this she tried to shake her head. He wrapped his arms around her and shifted the pillows so that she could sit up. He had so much to explain to her. He hoped that the nightmare was behind them and that she would recover. In the meantime, he would tell her all he knew of their situation and try to judge how well she understood.
It took 6 days to make it to Gilen’s. The weather had not held, and there had been two storms to slow them down. Trevor looked down at his sleeping Niece. Soon they would be in a warm house, with real food and a soft bed. And a bath. (Y/N) had instilled in him a need to be presentable, and he was sure Gilen would smell him a full hour before he got to the door. He hoped nothing bad had happened to the family during the attack, knowing some of them had come down for the wedding. He hoped that they were still on his side, and if not, that they would take pity on the small baby that he carried with him.
The farm seemed to be just as before as if the hell of the past few weeks had never happened. Livestock in the pasture grazing with no fear, workers going about their daily tasks. Everything was right as rain, and for that Trevor was grateful. He made his way up to the main house. It was shortly before midday, and Trevor could smell fresh bread and meaty stew. He knocked on the door and then tried to tidy himself up as much as he could. Gilen’s wife answered the door, and after a moment of blinking in shock, she then started yelling for Gilen. The stable master, moving as fast as he could to see what his wife was so rattled by, he saw the smile on her face and then who stood in her door.
Trevor was greeted with a hug and a firm pat on the back. He was immediately ushered into the house. Gilen’s wife took the baby and offered to find one of the stable boy’s to see to the goat. Gilen looked him over with a quick but perceptive eye. “You look like hell, boy. Go up, I'll send someone up to fetch you a bath, and then I’ll have someone look you over for any injuries and then see about filling you up. We can talk more then.
Trevor made his way up to the room he normally stayed in. He had managed to pack a couple clean sets of clothing, something to look presentable. He was feeling pretty good about how this was going until he had seen his reflexion in the mirror for the first time in weeks. His stubble was unruly, the scar over his eye was as healed as it was going to get but the stitches looked rough and needed to come out. His hair was either plastered to his head or standing on end. He had startled himself, he was kind of impressed that he had been recognizable. Which made him wonder how badly he had looked in the past. A few minutes later there was a knock on the door. One of Gilen’s daughter in laws brought in a pair of scissors, a razor and a pair of tweezers with a stool. She set the stool down and wordlessly pointed for him to sit. She walked back to a door and was handed a warm cloth and again without the saying anything grabbed him by his chin and started to evaluate his scar. She cleaned his face with swift efficiency before taking the scissors and snipping the stitches. She then pulled them out quickly despite his flinching. She then handed him the scissors and razor while going to the door to get a bowl of hot water. She very quietly said that his bath would be ready shortly before she left the room. It was such a strange encounter that he had to ponder it a moment before he shaved and trimmed. Normally Either his mother or Anya had taken care of his hair, he felt unprepared for that challenge. He was sure no one would mind if he left it be for now.
The bath was a welcome change, hot strongly scented oil and soap, in a tub, he could actually sit in was so much better than the quick wipe down he had been managing. He wondered as he watched the water blacken around him if the amount of oil was in direct correlation to his smell. He scrubbed what he assumed the top several layers off and then used the bucket of water to rinse off. He then wrapped himself in a towel before checking himself in the mirror. He looked less terrifying. The scar would take some getting used to. He dressed and wondered his way back downstairs.
He was greeted downstairs by the coos and warbles of his niece as she was being played with by the women of the household. She had also been cleaned up and from the looks of it was about to eat. It was nice to have help from people who knew what they were doing. He was just proud he had managed to keep her alive.
Gilen came up behind him and looked him over. A little leaner than he should be, beaten to hell, scarred both physically and emotionally. Trevor looked like he hadn’t slept in a month. Well, at least he smelt better. Gilen steered him to a chair at the table and he was presented with fresh bread and stew, as well as a tankard of something frothy and strong. Gilen’s daughter in law did their brewing, and this was a cider she had started to master. Sweet, dry and bubbly, which was new. A glass of milk was also presented to him, and the look that he got with it told him he was expected to drink it.
While he put away two bowls, 4 slices of bread slathered in some spicy apple concoction and two more tankards, there was also possible two or three sweet rolls, Gilen caught him up on what they knew. Which was very little. The night of the attack Gilen’s family had been far enough from the village that they had no idea what they were walking into the next day for the ceremony. As soon as they found out that the family had been taken, they made plans to return to the friends they were staying with, and make preparations for stopping the execution. Belmont’s still had some loyal friends. Those that had remembered to never remove the wards from their homes had remained in one piece when the demons attacked the first night. They had come back the next dawn to find the slaughter. The Church eager to jump on the story that the Belmont’s had summoned the demons to mask their escape. But still, some remembered the help that was given during the crisis, whispering in hushed words, words of praise and prayers. They made it back shortly after the Speakers had left.
This got Trevor’s full attention. The speakers had made it out, they had made it here. “And what of my bride?”
Gilen looked sad, he had hoped that Trevor had already known so he did not have to be the one to further his grief. “Her brother came and let me know of the attacks, and did a little trading.”
“Yes, but what about (Y/N)? Was she with him?”
“Oh my boy, I’m sorry.” Gilen debated on how much to tell him. He would save him the gory bits, “The brother said she hadn’t made it.”
Trevor looked down at the table before him. She hadn’t made it, she had been too injured. If Grant couldn’t have saved her then no one else alive could have either.
“Why don’t you go rest. I'm sure you haven’t slept well in a while. Sleep and we will talk in the morning. I’ll tell you then everything I know. Don’t worry about the little one, we’ll see to her.” Gilen hoped that he would sleep. Grief could do horrible things to a man, and he didn’t want Trevor to fall under heavy drink. He had a baby to look after.
After a long pause, Trevor nodded and stood. Silently he walked back up the stairs to his room. The practical side of him said that he did need rest, but he did know if sleep would come to him.
Chapter 30: FINAL
At long last the final chapter. It has been a bit of a bumpy road, but that you to those that stuck it out.
I can now start putting together everything I have for the second book of this.
Runaway Chapter 30 Final
Sleep came for Trevor and held him prisoner. Patches of happy memories, glimpses of unseen futures, all framed in blurred grey. He dreamt of the pools, of their wedding as it should have been. The birth of their son and daughter. The look of joy on her face as they found out she was pregnant with twins. He dreamt of his father being proud of his children, and the fun he had teasing his nieces and nephews. He watched as they grew old together, still madly in love. He watched his grandchildren grow. A lifetime of happiness and contentment. He could feel his heart being pulled apart. It was a lifetime ripped from him. Cut short by the short-sightedness of a few “faithful”. As the realization of it all being a lie, a false promise, things started to twist and turn. He stood by and watched himself make love to (Y/N) only for him to change into someone else. He watched as demons descended down upon the speakers and so much death. People burnt at the stake all in nice neat rows, while the faithful looked on, holding perfumed cloths to their noses. Lastly, he dreamt of (Y/N) kneeling before him, covered in blood. His arm came back the whip in his hand twisting in the air. He screamed trying to stop himself, he heard her words of love just before the whip struck, taking her head.
He woke in a cold sweat, his teary eyes stung, as he tried to pull himself back together. He wasn’t sure which was worse, the pleasant dreams or the nightmares. He looked out the window to see the thready tinges of pink and orange on the horizon. It was just before dawn. He knew Gilen would already be awake. Retired or not, that man had never slept in, in his life. He poured water into the washbasin and quickly scrubbed the tears from his face and the sweat from his body, hoping to wash away the last remnants of his dreams.
He made his way downstairs, greeted by the smells of warmth and food. The friendly chatter of the women working in the kitchen. It was a home. It was a painful reminder of everything lost, everything that would never be. He couldn’t stay. He knew Gilen was gearing up to offer it, he’d make some speech about his family duty, that the road was no place for an infant, which he would be right. But Trevor couldn’t stay. He didn’t know where he would go, but he could not, would not stay in this area. Everything was a reminder of everything now gone.
Gilen was waiting for him in the kitchen, babe on his hip as he danced with her. He saw Trevor, and Trevor knew he had to head him off. “I can’t stay, Gilen. I have to catch up with Grant, her brother. I have to figure out what to do. But I need to ask you for a favor.”
“What is it?”
“Can you keep the baby. You’ll agree that travel couldn’t be good for her, and she should have a home.”
“Of course. But are you sure? You could rebuild.”
“Yes, I need to be able to think, to organize to figure out a plan. And I don’t want to risk your family if someone were to see me here.”
Gilen, fairly certain that it would only be temporary, The brother would set him straight, and with what little the man before him seemed to have, he’d have to wander back eventually. “Well, then it sounds like you have the beginning of a plan. I’ll see you saddled and can make sure you have a few days rations to last you till you catch up with the Speakers. Boy, don’t even think about arguing with me, I’m older and have had more practice arguing. Take the help, and be glad for it.”
Trevor decided not to argue with him. Instead, a horse and some supplies would help him get away from there faster. The sooner he was gone the better.
(Y/N) looked at her brother. So much death. So much death that should not have happened. But she had hope. Trevor had been alive and should have made it to the caves to collect his mother. He would be following, and soon she would regain her strength and they would plan out their next moves.
It had only taken a glare and a few heavy sighs, and a weak thump to the head for Grant to realize that he did not have to speak to her as if she was a child. She was weak, but her mind still worked.
It scared her how weak she was, how much she had wasted away. Between that and her injuries, who knew how long it would take for her to be able to wipe her own ass let alone walk on her own. She could manage broth, but her stomach couldn’t handle much for solids. Her back would spasm and the pain would leave her breathless. Grant promised that it would get better with time, but he refused to look her in the eye when he said it. She was mangled: with a limited range of motion in her shoulder, and possibly to live out her days in constant pain. It was had to count her blessings when she was n pain. She refused most medicines her brother would offer, they could be as much a curse as a blessing. But Trevor had survived, he would follow, she had hope.
On the road, the sun hid behind grey clouds, but the wind stayed down. Gilen had told him where the Speakers were headed. Hours later he now stood at the crossroads. To the left, he could follow the Speakers and catch up to the Speakers. But he didn’t know if he could face Grant. To the right were the forest roads that eventually lead to Târgoviște. He had been sitting there long enough for the sun to have moved halfway across its path.
Could he face Grant after failing him so horrifically? He had failed to protect her, failed to protect their families. He had failed. Perhaps it would be better to go back to the village and help them end his suffering. Perhaps he should go pay her stepmother a visit. No, revenge was not the answer. He looked left, where he knew what waited for him, and then turned and rode toward Târgoviște.