Chapter 1: Kindness
There was a sadness in her eyes when she came close enough to his cage, it bewildered him. Most that came to gawk at him were disgusted and mildly amused but not her. She was a trite smaller than the older woman that she came with, he heard her call the woman “Mother” it wasn't a term he had heard in so long. He couldn't stop wondering about her soft blue eyes and why they looked as if they were about to shed tears.
When she withdrew a dagger from under her cloak he was even more in awe of her. Violence he understood but is what led her to pull it out in the first place that befuddled him. “Release him at once. He is not a filthy animal! He was not created for your amusement or your abuse. Set him free or I shall make you rue the day you captured him!” he was further intrigued by her empathy of his plight. How she saw him as a person not a beast but an equal to her.
“Livia!” the elder woman scolded jerking her arm downward she glared at her mother “This is not how he should be living”
“I know and that is what we are here to do is to free him” she said in low voice to her daughter then came to the side of the cage close to him “I wouldn't get to close” the man warned.
“I want to watch him feed” both mother and daughter stood by the side to watch him as they got a goat ready for him. The girl looked away as they gave him a hard jerk to the floor so they could present him the meal “I am Ancharia. I have been searching for you for a long time.” he cowered with shame for what he was and wasn't comfortable feeding in front of an audience “It's alright” Ancharia assured him the girl finally faced him again her expression still wrought with sadness. They watched as he used the stinger hidden within his tongue to attach to the goat and drag it to him so he could hold it still while he drained it of it's lifeforce.
“You are not unholy. You are blessed. You are a prince born of a dark being” he stared at the older woman in amazement as she spoke of him. He couldn't truly believe that he was blessed or a prince when he was beaten and forced into a cage, called The Leech.
While Ancharia conversed with the side show owner her daughter remained close to him “I am Livia. We're going to free you” she reached her hand out to touch him but he let out a growl she pulled back a little “I promise I won't hurt you” she moved her hand forward again and he let out warning noises but she was brave enough to place her hand on the top of his head.
Her hand was soft and her smile warm he was fascinated deeply by her demeanor and her gestures. This was kindness and it was new but it was most beautiful.
Chapter 2: Learning
Livia had returned triumphant as she dragged a deer back to the camp she shared with her mother and Quintus, who was making great strides in being taught how to speak. She was most joyous when her mother removed the device imprisoning his head. “There you are” Livia reached both her hands to the sides of his face to cup it but she was startled by his stinger emerging slightly. Quintus felt shame for frightening her but Ancharia put her to work skinning the deer.
Quintus had tried to say he was sorry but she had left before he got the chance it was just he and Ancharia in the tent “Do not worry you shall not harm her. And do not feel shame for what you are”
His gaze fell to the table with discomfort “I want you to understand you are no longer imprisoned and you shall not be treated like wild animal. You are now our equals, in fact you are our better. I put mine and my daughter's lives in your hands Quintus. You may doubt that you can protect us or that you will not take from us but I do not. I have faith in you.”
Livia watched through a small opening in the tent she admired how far Quintus had come and she too like her mother trusted him, although her mother made it clear to be careful how she handled him. Affection was new and possibly very stressful to him and he would eventually acclimate but Ancharia encouraged her to keep trying and being kind.
“You do not have supper ready and yet you have been out here all this time?” Ancharia chided her as she went to work helping Livia prepare their dinner.
“Sorry mother the skin was tough”
“I see you got a stubborn buck what did I tell you? Doe and fawn have much more tender meat”
Livia was trying to listen to her mother but she kept feeling Quintus's gaze upon her she looked to him and smiled “Are you listening to me?”
“Yes mother next time I shall get a doe or a fawn. What shall we give Quintus to eat? I saved the blood”
Ancharia took a breath she had not yet explained to Livia what Quintus truly needed and that was human blood “Livia, he requires more than the blood of an animal. He requires human blood to sate him”
Her eyes widened a bit she looked cautiously at him then away as quickly he knew she had just became even more afraid of him “Oh” was all she said coming to her mother as close as she could “Why didn't you tell me?”
“He shall not harm us. I will make arrangements for him to feed. Do not treat him differently Livia. He has committed no crime nor is he at fault for what he is.”
Livia felt embarrassed she had learned to never question her mother's judgment and she felt just as horrible as those who had him captive. She picked up the pail of deer's blood and walked into the tent to the table. Her cheeks flushed red “I know this isn't what you would really like but...”
“Thhaank you” he struggled to show his gratitude and though he felt embarrassed as well he knew she was trying to make amends.
She just nodded and set it on the floor beside him she wanted to apologize but didn't have the courage at that moment. Ancharia watched them both as she cooked the deer they both had so much to learn.
Chapter 3: Trust
Livia came outside the tent to see Quintus bringing more wood to keep the fire going “Need some help?” she offered but he shook his head.
“Quintus, I'm sorry for how I reacted. It was wrong of me I know you did not ask for this” her hand touching his arm overwhelmed him she removed it quickly “I apologize mother told me to take it easy with you”
He looked at her oddly “Why?”
“Because everything is brand new to you especially being touched in a kind way. But I hope in time we can embrace and become close”
Quintus still could not bring himself to look at her “Well, goodnight” she thought it best to give him personal space.
“Wwwait. Ddo you trtrust me?”
His words stopped her and she turned her head to the side “Yes, I trust you with my life Quintus” she looked at him hoping he would be able to see the sincerity in her eyes. Her answer told him that she was learning to trust him though she still may have had reservations it was a starting point at least.
When twilight had hit Livia was back up and preparing to go on a hunt to gather breakfast and possibly lunch she gathered her bow, quiver and thickest cloak. She loved the hours before dawn the forest was quiet and the animals were unaware of her. Livia tuned her hearing to the forest floor by shutting her eyes and taking well timed breaths. Her mother taught her to drown out distracting noises and truly listen to the forest, it had it's own rhythm.
The sound of a twig snapping caught her attention she quietly moved to the direction of the noise. She saw through a small group of bushes the perfect shot of a doe carefully she removed an arrow and laced it within her bow. Pulling it back she kept her eye on the deer but it had stopped eating and raised it's head but she knew it could not have heard her. Livia then felt subtle vibrations something much larger was coming.
Livia saw the doe flee she went to put her arrow away when she could sense another presence. Turning her slightly she was faced with a bear she froze instantly it came close enough to sniff but she kept her profile tight. It let out a roar making her tremble slightly and her fingers were growing weaker trying to hold the arrow still in the bow but a cramp in her forefinger made the arrow release and into her leg. It took every ounce of resolve not to scream or panic but she knew as soon as the bear inhaled the sanguine smell of her blood she was done for.
Both she and the bear then heard something moving through the forest trampling leaves and twigs but it was coming towards them at an accelerated speed. When the bear became distracted by the sound she crawled through the opening in the bushes into the clearing. She had to get as far away as she could so she could pull the arrow out safely. Only one other time in her life had she been struck by her own arrow and that was when she was a mere girl of seven when her mother began to teach her how to hunt. Livia wasn't paying attention and ended up shooting herself in her foot. This pain was mild compared to that or so she remembered it.
Getting close enough to the stream she tore a part of her cloak to soak it in the water when she heard whatever else was out there with she and the bear getting closer to her. Livia was going to grab her bow and ready it but she then realized it was gone. “No” she muttered splaying her hand around her to see if it had fell nearby she began to cry tears of frustration.
The gnawing but numbing pain of the arrow protruding from her leg demanded her attention more so than the possible predator. She pulled her leg closer to her it wasn't in too deep which was a relief, it could be pulled out and she could tie it off before bleeding to death but getting back to camp might prove difficult. Livia took hold of the wooden rod then yanked it out “Ughhh” she moaned but silenced herself. A rattling noise could be heard getting closer she focused her eyes to see a shape walking towards her.
The closer it got the more she realized it was a person but the rattling became louder “Quintus?”
He stopped dead in his tracks and she heard him sniffing, once it was confirmed there was blood he moved in on her “Quintus please I need my mother. Please go get her”
She hoped that would distract him and send him back but the scent of her filled him. “Quintus?” he wouldn't respond with words just the rattling. Livia saw his mouth opening “Please don't” but she was surprised when he turned and shot it into the bear that went undetected at least by her.
Livia's heart raced as he finished feeding then went to work lifting her from the ground and carried her at what felt like lightening speed back to camp. “What happened?” before she knew it she was in her cot with her mother tending to her wound.
After some rest Livia awoke to see her bow and quiver on the chair beside her bed and Ancharia bringing her supper “I thought I lost my bow”
“Quintus found it and he killed dinner for us, I made soup with it” she set the bowl on her lap.
“Where is he?”
“He went off to hunt. He told me what happened...”
“Mother I didn't know that the bear...”
“It's alright he admitted he wanted to, do you know how much strength he had to give not to?”
She imagined it was very challenging for Quintus to restrain himself in the presence of human blood and she now knew without a doubt that she could trust Quintus.
Chapter 4: Honesty and Affection
On a chilling night after Quintus had returned from hunting he was welcomed by Livia who had stood guard of the camp while Ancharia slept “You can go to bed now I will stand watch”
“If it's alright with you I would like to stay up a little longer and talk” she said pulling her cloak tighter around her shoulders.
“Have I done something to displease you?” he asked taking a seat on the adjacent log.
“No, I am not displeased but I can understand how you came to that conclusion seeing as how every time mother desires a word with me I am usually at fault for something. But I just want to talk as in bonding with you over a conversation. Things are better between us wouldn't you agree?”
Indeed they had been since the trust had been affirmed “I suppose as good as they can be”
“Well in order for them to keep getting better and our bond to keep getting stronger we must keep communicating and most importantly telling one another the truth. You have been nothing but truthful with mother and undoubtedly she has been honest with you thus your bond is stronger. I will admit once I knew what it was you truly needed I was afraid for mother and I but after you rescued me from that bear and resisted my blood, I do not doubt you anymore. Mother told me it was most difficult for you to resist”
He lowered his gaze “Yes, it was but I promise to never harm you or her”
“I know. I believe that with all my heart” she placed her hand over her chest as a sign of faith.
“May I ask you something?” Quintus asked bringing his gaze to hers.
“Yes of course”
“What happened to your father?”
“He was attacked by a bear when I was six years old. It was very brutal the bear tore my father's head from his shoulders. I was blessed not to have seen it but my mother did she made me hide inside a log while she fought it off but it was much too late”
Quintus eyed Ancharia sitting up in the tent listening to Livia, he knew the bear was a lie Ancharia used to protect Livia and that indeed her daughter's father had been attacked by the Master himself or one of his legion. But Quintus nodded to Ancharia that he would keep the story true to Livia even if he believed that though she was a girl of sixteen she should have been told the truth but it was not his place.
After Livia had retired to bed Ancharia came outside “Thank you for not telling her the truth”
“It is not my place but I do believe you should”
“My husband and I tried so very hard to protect her from all of this” she said taking Livia's seat by the fire.
“If you don't mind me asking but is Livia really your child?”
His question had made Ancharia grow silent and stone faced while she decided to answer him or not “No, Livia is not my child by birth but my husband and I found her on our pursuit of you. Her real parents were turned by the Master himself. It was all we could do to take her in and raise her as our own. Please Quintus you must never tell her this. I love her like my own daughter and I have raised her from a babe she is mine”
“I will not speak of her origins but do not be naïve thinking you can protect her by keeping her ignorant to what is really going on. She needs to be educated and taught because once he took her parents this made her apart of it”
She cast her gaze into the tent at Livia sleeping she had hoped but only in vain that Livia would never have to be disturbed by any of it. But Quintus was right it was time she be taught.
“Livia come in here” Ancharia called to Livia as she had returned to camp. She entered the tent then placed her bow and quiver on the floor then walked to the table where Ancharia and Quintus sat.
“What's going on? Are we moving?”
“No, sit. I have told you very little about Quintus and what he truly is because I have wanted nothing more than for you to be protected from it. But Quintus has pointed out you are just as much apart of this as your father and I are. I had hoped that when you reached maturity that you would somehow get to live a life of normalcy but I cannot predict what two years of life shall bring so I am going to tell you everything”
Quintus knew there was an exclusion to everything and that was her true parentage but it was the least harmful thing Ancharia had ever held back from her and for that he could not fault her. He remained with them while she told Livia stories and of the history about the strix and lastly of what really happened to her father.
Livia's blue eyes welled with tears she looked at Quintus “So you're saying something like Quintus killed Papa?”
Ancharia reached for her hand and held onto it tightly “It was not a thing like Quintus it was much worse and evil. It infected your father with it's curse and I had no choice...”
“What did you do mother?”
“I had to sever his head from his body then burn it”
Livia jerked her hand away from her mother then stormed out of the tent sobbing. “Quintus please go after her” Ancharia needed a moment to herself to cry and grieve again for her fallen husband.
Quintus nodded and followed Livia's scent she went running through the woods in the pitch black “Livia wait it is too dark out here you could get hurt” he came to a stop in a small clearing surrounded by trees.
“Go away Quintus” she cried.
He found her up a tree sitting on a branch not more than ten feet off the ground “I'm afraid I cannot. I promised I'd keep you safe”
“Your kind stole my father” she said bitterly.
“I am sorry but they are not my kind. I am only half theirs but if I were there I would have saved him”
He made her cry harder because she knew he would have “But she did her best by him and by you. Didn't she?”
“Why didn't she tell me? Why did she have to lie?” Livia croaked.
“You were a child and from what she has told me human children should not be told such things. But I agree with you that you should have been told when you came of age, when you were better suited to handle the truth”
She looked at him “Really?”
“You told me the most important thing in a relationship is being honest right? Well now I believe your mother is trying to be honest with you but I do not believe she told you lies to hurt you”
Livia began climbing down when she was at a safer distance she jumped out of the tree and landed in front of Quintus. She came to him and put her arms around his waist and rested her head against his chest and finished crying her tears. He had watched Ancharia and Livia embrace it seemed like a strange custom but he had been wondering how it felt and what it was like. He moved his arms to wrap around her like he had witnessed and held her close to him. This was affection and it felt like nothing Quintus had ever experienced before, it was everything he had hoped it would be.
Chapter 5: Jealousy
Much to Ancharia's delight Quintus and Livia had grown very fond of one another almost like siblings as Ancharia had come to love Quintus like a son. Her heart was filled with a motherly pride watching them as they worked together chopping and stacking the wood. Quintus would bust the wood into logs with the ax while Livia stacked it in a neat pile. “That is good work but we need a little more for the next few days. So be careful and have each other's backs out there” Ancharia said from the entrance to the tent.
“I'll race you to the clearing” Livia shouted getting a head start. Quintus took off with his super human ability knowing he would win. Ancharia smiled to herself it was the family she and her husband had always dreamed of having a little unconventional but it was a family nonetheless.
“No fair!” Livia cried slowing down as Quintus had beaten her to the spot in record time “You did not say I could not use my abilities”
She stopped to catch her breath “I gave it all I had”
“Perhaps one day I might let you win” he patted her shoulder.
“No, if you let me win then it's not really much of a victory. You have to earn those otherwise it's you pitying me and I won't have that”
For a girl she was very wise and noble Quintus thought Ancharia had raised her well, he hoped that her wisdom would rub off on him as well. She stood upright again and tossed her blonde braid from off her shoulder and pulled out her bow “We are supposed to find a good tree for firewood not hunt”
“Yes but I hear an elk and it is if I'm correct a very big one. Mother will be most pleased”
Quintus heard it too among other things in the forest but he would not spoil her hunt by taking the elk by force he had to let her maintain her independence and build her confidence. She traipsed quietly into the lush greens going in deeper. While Quintus chose a suitable tree but the moment he lifted the tree by it's roots his ears picked up another sound, danger.
“Livia” he whispered abandoning the tree and speeding into the forest after her. She was a few feet away from the elk that was drinking from the stream it was a majestic sight with it's antlers rising like a crown upon it's head. Coming up on her left side she heard them coming through the bushes her eyes glanced over quickly they were what her mother had described as a strix, her heart thudded against her chest but it didn't make any moves it just studied her and moved slowly towards her. “LIVIA!” Quintus shouted but he wasn't going to reach her in time. She changed the focus of her bow to aim between it's eyes and when it opened it's mouth she released the arrow the force of the impact into the strix's skull threw backwards into the tree the arrowhead nailing it to the bark.
“Are you alright?” Quintus appeared “Yes I shot it” she pointed.
Quintus came to the tree and looked it in the eye it was still alive he growled and balled up his fist and began pounding it into the strix's face until white poured from every facial orifice. He turned his attention back to Livia “We have to go and warn mother. We're going to have to flee”
“You go I'm going to find him” she reached for his sleeve and gave it a tug “We stick together and besides mother says that you're not ready yet. Please I don't want to go back to camp without you”
As angry as Quintus was that the Master had violated their territory and one of his servants entreated upon Livia he could still hear the fear in her voice. Another time. “Get on my back I will take us home” she hoisted herself up and he secured her legs around his torso then rushed back. The way Livia clung to him and feeling her heartbeat pressed against his back he wanted nothing more than to tear the Master apart to protect them.
They had been on the move for two days Ancharia wanted to be sure they would be far enough away but they came upon a village “Mother maybe we can find a place to stay just for a few days. I'm tired”
“No, we do not stay where groups of people are gathered it is what calls him forth. We pass through the villages but we do not stay”
Livia sighed but trudged onward “I can carry you” Quintus offered. “She will be alright” Ancharia refused for her making her groan.
Quintus cloaked his head and face as they passed by the people so they would not see him and try to attack. It was best to draw less attention but then a man stepped out in front of Livia “What a beautiful young woman you are. If you fancy I would pay for a lovely evening with you”
Ancharia and Quintus stopped and turned “No thank you” she tried to walk around him but he blocked her path. Ancharia looked to Quintus as soon as he started to growl “She can take care of herself we mustn’t cause a scene”
“I am not interested now please get out of my way!” she spoke more firmly.
“Come now aren't you curious about the seductive arts? Surely you have reached womanhood by now”
Ancharia didn't like where the situation was leading she nodded for Quintus to intervene she didn't need to nudge him twice. The man felt himself suddenly lifted off the ground “The lady said she was not interested now move!” he yelled tossing him across the way. Livia moved quickly to catch up with Ancharia as others gathered outside Quintus let them all hear his growl but none made any moves to stop them.
Livia still felt the sting of embarrassment when they finally were away from the village “Something you want to talk about?” Ancharia took notice.
But Quintus was too close and Livia did not feel comfortable discussing it in front of him he sensed it and sped ahead of them a little ways “Mother what did that man want exactly? I know he wanted something I feel ashamed about but I'm not sure why”
Ancharia had never fully planned on discussing things of a sexual nature with Livia until she was ready to be courted on her eighteenth birthday but perhaps it was time for her to know “He wanted to lay with you but you are not old enough for that”
“You mean in a bed with me?”
“Yes, it is something that when you are old enough and are married will get to do. It is something you should only do if you are in love with a man”
Livia was still very confused “So to share a bed with a man I must love him and be his wife?”
Ancharia stopped walking and turned to Livia “When a man and a woman love one another and they have been blessed in marriage that is when the woman gives her virginity to the man as a gift. It is her offering to him and sexual intercourse is what it is called. It is when a man will take his penis and put it inside your vagina and he make you a woman”
That Livia understood her cheeks radiated with redness “But that will not happen to you until after you have gotten married understand?”
Quintus though farther ahead could still hear every word he had witnessed sexual things going on at the side show between the other oddities they kept. He found it disgusting how they gave themselves to one another in such animalistic lust there was nothing desirable about how they conducted themselves and their genitals but hearing Ancharia's description it sounded much better to him. He didn't realize it at first but his mind began wondering as to whom would court Livia when she was old enough but when he caught himself thinking about it he felt a bit of shame, truly whoever would court her would be human. Though she remained with he and Ancharia to this point it would be a total of two years and Ancharia would help her find a suitor and she would leave them to be a wife and someday a mother. Quintus began to feel something new when he pictured Livia with a human man and his arms around her, his lips kissing her and the intimacy they would share – he felt jealous. He knew there was never going to be that for him but that's not what he felt jealous about it was someone else being with Livia, someone he did not know and didn't know if he could trust them to protect her.
“Wait up Quintus” Livia finally stopped thinking about the man and the talk with her mother she ran to catch him. “What are you thinking about?” she asked walking alongside him looking up into his eyes.
“Nothing” he lied but he felt it was best he did. He couldn't tell her about his jealousy or that he had began to look at her in a different way. Livia accepted his answer and kept moving she playfully bumped arms with him making him smile “Do not play that game with me I can launch you clear across the forest”
“Yes but I know you wouldn't do it”
Quintus bumped her harder making her fall to the ground she began laughing “Quintus!”
He held his hand out to help her up “Are you tricking me?”
“No, I would not do that to you”
She went to take his hand but he pulled it away to tease her “You lied to me that is not allowed Quintus”
“I did not promise you though” he presented his hand to her again “No, I do not trust you now”
In a quick motion he lifted her off the ground and over his shoulder “Agghhh!” she erupted with laughter.
Ancharia watched from behind as Quintus set Livia down gently and his hands were lingering on her waist. She knew she had better keep a closer eye on the two of them.
Chapter 6: First Kiss
Quintus watched Livia practice with a sword it was something Ancharia was making her do to help her learn to better protect herself. Ancharia stood out there giving her advice and at times helping her improve her stance “Can we stop mother? It's almost sunset and I'm tired”
“There are still at least three hours left of daylight and you will practice until it has set. Now again”
Livia sighed but took her stance as her mother picked up a sword and they began dueling. Quintus had took a keen notice of Ancharia's changed behavior towards the two of them, she had different tasks and training for them but most always separately and she kept Livia out of the tent during the daytime. He was confounded as to why but he felt that maybe she had lost trust in him and maybe it was time he depart from them he knew they were very capable of protecting one another.
That night Livia was having difficulty sleeping when she opened her eyes she saw Quintus packing up “Quintus? What are you doing?”
He froze and couldn't bring himself to look at her “I think your mother has lost faith in me or I have done something to upset her so I am going”
“Going?” she rushed out of the bed and coming to him “You can't go we need you”
“That is a lie you're both fierce women who can handle any treachery or peril. I am going to fulfill my destiny and slay the Master” he continued to fill his pack.
“No, Quintus I don't want you to go and mother doesn't either. She just wants me to be more prepared so I can be of service to you”
He stopped for a moment and turned to face her “Service?”
“Yes, I'm going to fight alongside you. I want to be a warrior. Otherwise I'll have to get married off for my safety” she spoke with such disdain of marriage.
Quintus tilted his head looking at her she did not look like a girl but a woman. Her blonde locks were down and over her shoulder it looked like silk and smelled like honeysuckles. The way her nightgown hugged to her body it wasn't hard for Quintus to see the details of her breasts and in the light her womanhood. And now here she stood confessing she would rather stay and fight by his side than to find a man to be her husband it was boggling his mind but it gave him a feeling of happiness, strangely.
“You do not wish to be a wife?”
“Not at eighteen. There will be plenty of time for that. Do you want to get married someday Quintus?”
He knew there would never be a wife for him, how could there be? Even if that was an option who would have him? “I do not think that is for me”
“Don't say that. Everyone deserves love Quintus” she took him by surprise when she took his hand.
Quintus stared down at their hands interlocked for a few moments then looked into her eyes, so many things he could read just by gazing into them. When she was sad the color dulled to a more grayish blue and when she was excited or in a good mood they sparkled and were the as beautiful as the clearest sky. He didn't know why but a feeling swept over him that he didn't deserve her kindness or love it made him break contact and he turned away “I'm sorry did I upset you?” she apologized.
“No, it's not you it's me. You should go back to sleep I'm going to check on the fire and keep watch”
Livia couldn't understand what had just occurred between them but she feared she may have overwhelmed him. She came to the opening of the tent and peeked out at him stoking the fire and staring somberly at it. No one had ever given Quintus love or affection so it was something that was probably painful to accept but she couldn't give up.
“You'll catch your death out here” he stood when he saw her standing outside the tent “I stay cold in that bed anyways. If I made you feel bad in any sort of way I am truly sorry”
“I assure it is not you”
“I want to help you Quintus. I want to show you how beautiful love can be. Will you let me?”
She stood close to him and raised her hand to his face she placed her open palm on his cheek and stroked her thumb across the surface. Her other hand held his other cheek he put his hands on her arms “See? Doesn't this feel nice?”
It did feel nice and it made Quintus feel more things that began to overload him. He felt his stinger trying to find it's way out but he pulled her hands away before it happened “What's wrong?”
He turned his face away to hide it but she peered over his shoulder “Do you want to hurt me?”
Quintus shook his head negatively as he fought to make it go back “It reacts to your feelings. That's not a bad thing. You are not a bad thing” she placed her arms around the side of him and held him close to her.
All these feelings flooding him he had to get her back to bed so he could process them alone. Quintus swept her up into his arms and carried her back to her cot as he laid her down they were staring into one another's eyes her hand was on the back of his neck. He could hear Livia's heart speeding up but it wasn't out of fear it was something he was unfamiliar with. She cocked her head to the side and closed her eyes Quintus jerked back a little as she moved her face closer to his but she held him tightly in place. Her lips lightly brushed against his and she released him laying back down.
“What was that?” he asked feeling his lips tingle and his entire body felt as if it were vibrating.
“It was a kiss. Goodnight” she said cupping her hand on the side of his face and rubbing her thumb across his lips.
Outside the tent Quintus sat by the fire thinking about the kiss. He did not know if she did it out of sisterly love or something else entirely but it was all that consumed his thoughts.
Chapter 7: Love At Last
“How far away can you hear?” Livia asked while on a morning walk in the forest with Quintus. Ancharia had relented to allow them a day just to go off and explore so long as they were back before sunset.
“Miles and miles” he answered peering sideways from his cloak.
“Does the sun hurt you?”
“No, not in the way that it does pure strix. If it is too bright it can hurt my eyes and make my skin twinge with a burning sensation”
Livia seemed very excitable and eager spending alone time with Quintus and being able to get to know each other without restriction of what was appropriate and what was not “So after you destroy your father what are you going to do?”
“There will be nothing after I kill him”
“Sure there will be. There's always something after” Livia said with a innocent smile.
He knew she didn't know the prophecy of his fate after the Master's demise “Livia, there is nothing after his death for me because I will die when he does”
Livia came to halt and stood still for a moment “No, you're going to kill him and then you're going to be free to live the life you want”
“I wish that were true but alas is wishful thinking” when she turned to face him to see her cheeks streaked with hot tears and fresh ones pouring he knew to her it was more than that.
“You are not a child any longer remember? The truth you must be told even if it isn't to your liking”
She sniffled, “Aren't you afraid to die?”
“I have lived my whole life shrouded by darkness, beaten, enslaved and mistreated. There are no others like myself out there if I did live it would be a lonely life as no one would ever want to share their life with me”
Livia felt as if her heart had been crushed “That's not true Quintus. Just because that's how things were does not mean how they have to be now. You could live with mother and I forever”
Her words were the most kind hearted but he knew forever was much too impossible of a promise for her to keep even if he could fix the outcome to survive the battle with the Master. “You are but a mortal so do not promise forever”
“Well, we have right now and I think about all the things we can have” Livia stepped towards him and took a hold of his hands.
“Such as?” he hoped it would answer his most burning question about the kiss she had given him nights ago as to if it were to welcome him as her brother or did she intend it to mean as his lover.
“What do you want most Quintus?”
It was a question that put aside the fire of his own inquest because it is one that no one had ever asked him nor did he ask himself. He heard the answer speaking itself in his head but he was afraid if he spoke it aloud it could change the possible direction of what he wanted to know from Livia.
“I know you have the answer but you're afraid of it yes? I can see it in your eyes when I asked the first thing that came to mind made your eyes flash”
“I want a family. I want to know love. Before I must do what I am destined for I want to know love” there was a strange feeling that a weight had been lifted from his heart and his shoulders. And now he waited to see if Livia would reveal her truth to him.
Livia moved more into Quintus's space and put his arms around her as laid herself against him and shut her eyes. Tears began forming in the corner of his eyes “Livia?”
“Do you love me?”
As much as he did not want her to she pulled her head back to look up at him “Yes, with all my heart. Like I have never loved anyone before. I didn't know it was possible or that I would feel this way for you”
“And what way do you feel? Please tell me I have to know what way do you view me? As your brother? Or...”
“Quintus, I do not feel like your sister; I know, I should but I don't. I have never been in love before but I want to discover it with you”
He took her face into his hands and he bent slightly; their foreheads touched softly, she placed her hands over his and they couldn't take their eyes off each other “I want to discover love with you as well, Livia”
Her eyes closed and her lips readied themselves Quintus pressed his lips against hers. At long last love was no longer an impossible; all the pain, the abuse and the loneliness he had ever felt was starting to melt away. With every peck of their lips the walls he had built up were crumbling, with every touch from her gentle and delicate fingers his defenses were becoming disarmed. They were tangled up against a tree sitting on the forest floor, just when he thought their kisses were finished Livia would raise her head from under the cradle of his neck to plant another one on or beside his lips, knowing very well he would not be able to resist kissing her back.
“It is almost sunset we should head back” he could see the sun sinking down through the trees in front of them.
“I could stay like this with you for the rest of my life” she whispered pulling herself closer to him with one palm stuck to the side of his neck and her head resting on his shoulder.
“If only” he did not want to hurt her or sadden her but he knew they could not “Quintus?” she stopped him as he was going to get up and pull away from her.
“We need to keep this to ourselves. I don't think mother would be too happy about us”
“Are you ashamed?”
“No, of course not but I am only sixteen and she has set it down that I cannot be courted until I am eighteen. But we are not sure of how much time we have together” she stroked his cheek lovingly.
He didn't seem convinced “I wish I could shout my love for you to the world. I wish mother would consent to let you court me but she will not. As your destiny is to bring an end to the Master and mine is to marry and bear children. She does not see this the way we do”
Quintus knew that Livia was right, Ancharia would not give consent to their union and while he wasn't comfortable deceiving her he didn't want to be torn away from Livia. His time was going to be short what would their relationship hurt? Quintus would only get to know one love and that was going to be all he needed.
Chapter 8: False Pretense & Intimacy
It was a struggle for Livia and Quintus to act as if they weren't in love. They constantly found ways to share the least little touch or invent ways for them to need the others presence. And when they were far away from Ancharia they would embrace and share sweet and tender kisses.
Ancharia came into the tent in the early morning hours to see Livia pulling her boots on “And where do you think you are heading?”
“Well, the deer have gotten smart to stay clear of here so I am going farther out it could take a day or two before I return”
“Absolutely not there is small game all around”
“Mother the small game is even receding. I have to or you and I shall starve” she finished putting her boots on then grabbed her pack.
“What if you run into danger?”
“I am bringing a sword with me as well as my bow but I do not wish to waste arrows. Mother do not worry I am capable you trained me”
“Your father was well trained also but he still lost his life. No, you shall not go alone. Quintus you are to escort and remain with her and you are not to be gone for no more than a day do you understand?” she turned first to Quintus then back Livia.
Quintus had detected that Livia had possibly thought this up so they could go off and be alone but it was not a lie that the animals had began to clear out from their part of the forest. Ancharia looked back at him he nodded in agreement “But who will protect you? When you are sleeping?”
“I can do without sleep for a day and I am more heavily equipped you. Be safe my children” she embraced Livia and kissed her cheek.
Quintus looked away he would never forgive himself if they returned and Ancharia was dead. “Protect her” she patted his shoulder.
“You have never lied to her before why did you start now?” he confronted Livia as they set out through the forest.
“When I was five years old she had made some sweet bread and told me that I could have any until after supper but I was always so impetuous and impatient so of course I got into the bread but before I had known it, I had eaten the entire loaf. I felt guilty and very ill from too much sugar but to cover my tracks I had opened our front door and let some raccoons in. Mother and father had a time getting them out but it left me in the clear. The point of this is, I have told my mother lies before Quintus. I'm human not an angel”
“Yes but that was a innocent lie of a child but you are almost a woman and this lie could put her in mortal danger”
“It's not a lie Quintus the animals have moved away from us. But yes my pretenses were to get you alone. My mother is a very strong woman and very stubborn she can take anything on. Please don't be cross with me” she pleaded but he walked ahead of her silently.
When they were far enough Quintus helped Livia set up camp “You've been quiet since before we got here. Please Quintus it's more than I can take”
“I just do not like deceiving her especially if something should happen to her. You will have to live with that for the rest of your life”
Livia turned her face away in shame and to hide her tears “Do you want to tell her the truth about us? I enjoy but yet hate sneaking around to hold your hand or kiss you. Lets tell her and be done with it”
“Do you mean that? You want to tell her the truth? What if she forbids it?” Quintus wasn't quite sold on confessing but it would feel like a relief to stop hiding it.
“Yes and I'm struggling with that possibility. I don't want to lose you Quintus. These past weeks have been incredible and the best time I have ever spent. Well except for times spent with my father and mother as a child”
He enveloped her in his embrace “They have been the best that I have ever had”
“So do we tell her?”
“As uncertain as the outcome may be yes we should be honest with her”
Livia was able to bring down two fawns and a lone buck before dark she was hanging them at a nearby tree while Quintus built a fire. He made Livia a bed close by the fire she came back from washing off in the stream “How sweet of you but those blankets shall not be enough they've been in our family for generations and have lost their thickness”
“Then I shall lay with you to keep you warm. I won't be sleeping and I will be ready if any danger should approach”
The thought of Quintus laying with her made her blush and feel hot all over. She recalled what her mother had told her about laying with a man and they may have been in love but they were not husband and wife. She didn't know if anything were going to happen if they had lain in the same bed but a small part of her had began hoping.
After she ate supper she sat on the makeshift bed watching Quintus place a few more logs in the fire to keep it until morning he then stood in front of her “What is the matter? You look troubled”
“I'm not troubled I'm nervous. We are about to lay together for the first time I don't know what's going to happen” she began trembling.
He took a seat beside her “What do you think has to happen? Do you think we are going to make love?”
She breathing erratically at thoughts of he and she joining together in sexual union “Livia, if you do not wish for that to happen it does not have to. I will never force you to do something you are not ready for”
Livia began to settle and calm herself “Do you want to?”
Quintus would be lying if he said no, because in fact he had been thinking about it. Everything about Livia roused desire in Quintus from the way her kisses tasted to the smell of her hair and her natural scent it drove him to the edge of madness. He would never confess it but late nights spent outside of the tent alone he had figured out a way to pleasure himself to ease the tension building deep within him and quell his ache for her.
“Of course I want to but you are not ready. You will know that you are ready when this does not make you so anxious”
“But Quintus we do not know how long we have together. I do want to experience love making with you”
Quintus stood up and helped her up after she was away from the bed he turned the blankets down “Tonight we shall just lay together and enjoy one another. There will be time for that and even if it is not with me...”
She put her fingers to his lips to stop him “Give me something tonight it does not have to be everything but I want you to touch me the way a man touches his woman”
Livia took down her hair first using her fingers to smooth it out to frame her face and when she began to undress Quintus immediately turned away from her, he felt her hand tug at his sleeve “Don't hide. I am not ashamed if you see. I want you to look upon my body” he was hesitant but turned to watch her remove her clothing.
When she was stark naked standing in front of him he began wrestling with his own tempestuous thoughts. Quintus wanted to shed his layers to join her in liberation but restrained himself, this was not about him it was about her. “Do you think I'm beautiful?”
“Yes” he answered almost without thinking, he did not have to think about it because he did believe she was beautiful. Her beauty agonized him not just her outer beauty but also her inner. He yearned for her and even if it was not apparent from their first meeting he began to feel apart of him wanted her then.
She laid down on the bed and got on her side to make room for him to get next to her. He got onto his side so they would be facing one another. Quintus began quivering when she touched her hand to his face “Seems you are nervous too”
“What is it you want me to do?” he whispered.
Instead of speaking she moved her hand from his face to his hand she guided it to her lower abdomen then placed her hand over the back of his, she dragged it down to her awaiting womanhood. He marveled at the way it felt when his fingers smoothed through her blonde curls and how soft her womanhood felt.
Once his hand was secured she put her hand back on his cheek then brought her face close enough to share a kiss. As their lips touched Quintus rubbed his hand up and down the entire length from the start of her pubic hair down to where the lips ended. Livia let out a soft moan “Does this feel good to you?”
“Yes” her body began to open up to him like a flower opening it's petals in the morning. She turned onto her back and bent her knees, opening them more slightly. Quintus's index finger slipped in between her outer lips causing blissful distress. With his other hand he stroked her hair and watched her facial expressions as he discovered every last part between her thighs.
Her nipples began to pert it was combination of the cool air and the arousal. Quintus began to scent her wetness permeating from deep between her folds it was musky, pungent yet sweet. A few more traces of his finger up and down her moist slit and another layer had been discovered.
A small pea size bump protruded outward Quintus curious, looked down to see her entire womanhood was engorged and pink. He saw something white gathering at her entrance he took his finger down to it, puddling around in it. Livia opened her eyes and looked at Quintus he felt her gaze upon him he took his eyes back to her “Quintus” her voice spoke his name like she were begging but for what he did not know.
The white fluid was the musk he scented he moved his finger back up to the mysterious bump and began rub it in small circles it caused Livia to react. Her body began trembling and she took long dragging breaths “Am I causing you pain? Would you like me to stop?”
“No...don't cease. Please Quintus don't stop”
Livia's back began to arch and he could feel the small button began to throb. Her entire womanly area began clenching and contracting he wondered how this felt to her but judging from the look on her face and her mouth dropping open to gasp it was an incredible agony. Her legs raised as her entire body convulsed she had to seize Quintus's hand to make him stop. She brought his hand to her lips and kissed the back of it “Did you enjoy it?”
She wasn't able to speak she just nodded. Livia wrapped his arm around her waist as she turned on her side again and wrapped herself up in his arms. He pulled the blanket to cover her nudity and held her firmly to his body so she could be kept warm. Quintus laid with her until she was in a deep sleep he then got up to relieve himself. He focused his thoughts on seeing her body, drinking in every square inch of it. Seeing her womanhood swollen with arousal for him and hearing her breathing it brought Quintus over the edge quickly. His hand slapped against the tree to support him as he ejaculated. Quintus threw his head back as the last of his essence dribbled down onto the ground he struggled to catch his breath.
Quintus saw her shivering underneath the blanket he removed his robe and came to her “Livia?” he awakened her.
Her eyes fluttered open to see him standing exposed she couldn't tear her eyes away from his manhood dangling freely between his legs. It was as thick as it was long and it made her ache with longing but he presented her with his robe blocking her view of his lower half “Put this on it will keep you warm”
“No, get back in bed with me”
“I cannot” he refused much to her dismay.
“You know why. Do not rush what was done was good enough for now. Please I do not want you to get ill”
Livia took it from him and put it on “Where are you going?”
“I will be just over here. Get some rest we will be leaving early”
She didn't have the strength or energy to argue she just laid back down and fell asleep. Quintus listened for predators all night but he never took his eyes off her nor did his mind stop playing the events that transpired. It took every last ounce of resolve for him to keep his distance.
Chapter 9: Misunderstanding
Livia rushed into Ancharia's arms as soon as they arrived back at camp “You do not know how happy I am to see you. Both of you”
“We're happy to see you too mother” both women looked at Quintus. He was carrying the limb with the hunted game hanging. Livia had an uneasy look upon her face he knew she was wavering on telling Ancharia the truth.
“Let me see what you brought home” Ancharia went behind him to examine her kills while Quintus and Livia had an entire conversation with just their eyes.
“These will do nicely I can wrap some of the meat. Quintus you must be famished and should probably go hunt for your own now”
“Yes, I think that would be best” he said giving Livia narrowed eyes. She gave him a pleading look for forgiveness but he just turned away to help Ancharia rehang the carcasses.
Livia caught him before he sped off “Wait”
“Save your words. You have no intention of telling her do you?”
“We just got back”
“Livia, if you are ashamed just speak it and I shall not hold that against you...”
“Quintus! I am not ashamed of you. What if she sends me away? What if she casts you out of our camp? I'm scared. I could never be ashamed of you” her hands had become familiar to his face and her lips were no longer strangers to his own. He pulled her into the forest behind a tree so she would be out of sight of Ancharia.
The way she kissed him now was much more sensual and passionate he could feel her want and desire as she tugged and pulled at his clothing. He began feeling it too as he had her back planted to the bark of the tree, her hands on his the sides of his neck pulling him into her even more. Her kisses were the only words he could understand at that moment and each one screamed loudly how bad she wanted him. They spoke of her yearning, she was changing from the sweet girl into a woman filled with passion. Surely if Ancharia knew she would have Quintus's head he had to slow Livia down.
“Livia” he spoke her name breathlessly as he fought his own desires. Her soft eyes opened and looked up at him dead on.
“Yes my love” hearing her speak such words nearly knocked Quintus over and almost made him forget what he was doing. For her to claim him and be it with love, he felt overwhelmed with dual feelings; both good and bad.
“I must..go...” she kissed him again stopping him from finishing his sentence. “Take me before you do. Right here” she whispered against his ear.
“No, not this way. You should help her with the deer. I have to feed.” he had to grab her hands and start backing away before he became wrapped up in her again.
“When you return?”
“I shall make no promises but do not rush. I know a door to a whole new world just opened for you because it has most certainly for myself but we mustn't rush into this” he reasoned trying to spare her feelings.
“I shall miss you and I will count the minutes you are away and I promise to speak with mother. I will never be ashamed of you, I love you Quintus”
He held her hands and brought them to his lips he gave them a small peck “I love you too and I will return as soon as I am sated”
Livia stood there for a few minutes after Quintus departed she began counting the seconds in her mind.
Livia sat quietly with Ancharia inside the tent as they ate supper together “You are awfully quiet which is highly unusual for you. You always were like my little bird, chirping constantly” Ancharia recalled with a smile.
“Mother, there is something I need to tell you it's about Quintus...” Livia began but paused her stomach became tied up in knots and she felt nauseous setting aside her spoon.
Ancharia had stopped eating in curiosity to listen “What is it? Did something happen while you two were away?”
Livia immediately blushed she had not planned on telling her mother about the way he touched her “No, nothing happened” she answered too quickly she knew Ancharia would know she was lying.
She took a deep breath this wasn't getting any easier but she knew it had to be done “Mother, in two years will I have to find a gentleman suitor and get married?”
“Livia, this life I do not wish you to keep living. Always on the move and being hunted if you are able to have a settled life then I feel that you should. Does Quintus think differently?” Ancharia was trying to connect the possible dots of Livia's fragmented thoughts.
“What if I were to be courted sooner? Would you agree to that?” it was now or never.
“It is a bit early but I suppose I could consider it”
Livia began feeling relief things were actually going to be alright “That's wonderful. You do not know how relieved I am to hear you say that”
“Well then we of course need to find you a suitable man”
Livia stopped smiling she wasn't in the clear just yet “I suppose we should move close to a village so your chances will be increased to find a gentleman” Ancharia continued.
“Did Quintus think of this? He cares for you so much and I know he wants to see you safe as do I. Eat up because you will be standing guard tonight so I may rest and when Quintus returns go straight to bed” Ancharia nodded towards her bowl.
Livia didn't speak of it anymore she just picked up her spoon and forced herself to eat. When Quintus returned she would have to seek his counsel about what to do next since she had managed to make a mess of things.
Chapter 10: A Welcome Suffering
Quintus could tell something was wrong from Livia's expression as she stood in front of the tent when he returned he assumed Ancharia had been told and hadn't reacted well to the news. “She is upset isn't she?” he asked when Livia rushed into his arms and cried.
“I did not get to tell her but I made things so much worse. I need you to help me fix this”
Quintus sat with her by the fire as she told him what was said at dinner “You should have told her then”
“I just lost the nerve to after she seemed so happy. I could not stomach it”
He caressed her cheek wiping away stray tears “All is not ruined or lost we shall tell her in the morning. You should go rest”
“Will you lay with me?” with all the panic and worry aside her inhibition lowered and invited thoughts of repeating what he had done to her in.
“As I have said we must take it slow. Too soon could be overwhelming to you or even to me. Neither of us have ever made love before but I am certain it is not something to be taken on lightly”
She kissed his cheek “You are right. Goodnight my prince”
“Goodnight” he kissed her forehead. He watched her enter the tent tempted to follow but he had decided once she was fully asleep he would take care of the raging in his loins. Self control was something the strix half of himself felt challenged with the most because he knew how powerful he was and he could claim whatever or whomever he wanted and couldn't be stopped but the human half of him demanded for control so he would not rush through and end up hurting Livia or causing her trauma.
It was the longest hour of his existence or so it seemed but he finally felt sure that Livia had gone to sleep. He rose from his seat and walked to the entrance of the forest removing his robe he looked down to see his stiff member had reached full length. Quintus had never experienced arousal until now he was not sure what it was there for until he had witnessed one of the men dwarfs having sex with one of the gypsy girls. But that wasn't the thought he wanted in his mind while pleasured himself, he wanted Livia's naked body there while he envisioned her giving herself to him. Quintus inhaled deep and exhaled sharply as his hand trailed down his body and found it's home wrapped around his aching erection he began pulling and tugging at it as his fantasy played on.
In the tent Livia had awakened strangely she poured a cup of water when she saw through a crevice in the opening flap of the tent Quintus wasn't sitting by the fire. Her eyes scanned the outer lying area behind the fire that's when she could make out his silhouette standing at the entrance of the forest. Curiously she slipped out of the tent and decided to investigate perhaps he had sensed danger.
When she got close enough she could see Quintus had shed his robe and stood with his bare bottom facing her. Livia couldn't tell what he was doing in front she just saw his arm moving at furious pace while the other held against a tree. At a closer glance she was finally able to see slightly to the front and she realized he was pulling at himself “Quintus?”
Her voice rang out like the crack of a whip in the night air making him freeze with shame “Livia what are you doing out here?”
“Better question what are you doing?” it was not like she didn't know but she wanted him to say it. Livia wanted to hear him confess it.
“Go back to bed” he commanded but before he knew it she was right there behind him and her hand was on his chest rubbing “I will if you agree to come with me” she spoke softly kissing the back of his arm that held his cock tightly in it's grasp.
He didn't answer or move and Livia began to move her hand down to his abdomen “Show me how you do it” she whispered “Teach me how you liked to be touched”
Quintus's cock began to ache especially with her hand so close he felt his hand shake but he released it then brought his hand up to hers he took it down to his dangling phallus, guiding her on how to hold it. He felt Livia shudder with excitement as she took an anxious breath she groped it up and down getting a feel for it “It's so big” she marveled.
He let her get a feel for it but only for a few seconds because he was ready to relieve it's agony, he put his hand back on hers to further instruct moving it at a steady pace until he was sure she understood. When he took his hand away to allow her to do it by herself she did not disappoint him he leaned his body back against her and his head tipping slightly. She was really there and really touching him this wasn't a fantasy.
Livia watched both Quintus's cock moving through her fist and his face as she did it “Faster” he groaned. She obeyed and pumped him with increased speed she could feel it tightening in her grip becoming as stiff as it could and all his muscle constricted he threw his head back and let out a feral groan as his semen shot out. She felt something hot and wet with her fingers as she gave him a few more tugs until he grabbed her wrist and pulled her off of it.
She stood behind him profiled close to him she wrapped her arms around his chest locking herself to him “Do I torture you so?”
“Yes, but it is a suffering I will gladly accept” he whispered back still catching his breath.
Chapter 11: Defiance
“How you managed to sneak away from camp I still have yet to figure out” Quintus said to Livia who was perched on a limb of a tree watching the sunrise.
“You were taking a nap. I guess after last night you were exhausted” she said with a smile as the golden rays of first light hit her face. Quintus admired the way the sun glittered on her skin and she closed her eyes and inhaled deep as if she were making a wish. She placed her hand over her heart still smiling, it was pure majesty to Quintus.
Once she came down she stood in front of him on her tiptoes and pecked his lips “You ready to tell mother?” she asked taking his hand into hers and yanking him playfully forward.
“What were you doing in that tree when your eyes were closed?”
“Talking to my father. We used to watch the sunrise together the last day we did it the sky was overcast but he said the sun was still there even if we cannot see it. And that's how I think of him he's still among us though I cannot see him”
He could hear the happiness in her voice as she shared tales of her father “You honor his memory by watching the sunrise and praying to him?”
“No, not praying. He's not God I just usually tell him something good that's how we'd always start our day with something good. And this morning I just had to tell him about you” she looked away trying not to cry.
“Do you think your father would have given me his blessing?”
“I do. So you do not have any happy memories even as a child?”
“No” he stated simply and they both became uneasy she squeezed his hand harder “Well we're going to create happy memories. No matter what some legend says you will get to be happy Quintus. I'll make sure of that”
Ancharia emerged from the tent to spot Quintus and Livia chatting coming through the forest back to camp and she didn't miss the two of them holding hands. It gave her a perplexing feeling of unease. How long had this been going on? Was she reading more into it than there really were going on?
“Mother!” Livia beamed charging forward awkwardly dragging Quintus by the hand. “What is the meaning of this” she nodded towards their joined hands.
Livia's smile faded “Mother...”
“Let go at once. I did not search for you to court my daughter” she scolded Quintus.
“Mother!” Livia outraged “I said let his hand go now” she demanded but Livia rebelled.
Quintus tried to let her go but she jerked to hold on “No!” she said defiantly. Ancharia didn't hesitate to step forward and slap Livia against her cheek she dropped Quintus's hand to place her hand over the stinging spot that had began growing red.
Livia went to slap her back but Quintus held his arm out to stop her “Do not hit your mother it is disrespectful”
“I have done nothing wrong!” she cried.
“Go inside I must speak with Quintus alone” she pointed towards the tent when Livia went to refuse Quintus turned and put both hands on her shoulder and began shoving her backwards until she was in the tent.
“What are you doing?” she whispered to him “We have to stand our ground”
“No, she is displeased with the both of us. Defying her will not make things better only worse”
Quintus got a shock when Livia reached up and slapped his cheek she stomped over to her room and shut the curtain down in haste. He hung his head and stepped out to face Ancharia “I do not know which one of you pursued the other but it stops now. Do I make myself clear? We are moving closer to a village so that she may find a suitor”
“You mean a human suitor?”
Ancharia sighed, “Quintus I have nothing against you but for her to get too close to you could mean she will get hurt or worse die. I want her out of this before it is too late please do you understand?”
He just nodded mournfully he got the message loud and clear he was never meant to be happy. Ancharia headed inside the tent to speak with Livia he just stood too filled with hurt to move. If only he could go back in time to stop Livia from holding his hand then they would still be together. Quintus needed to be alone and fast he took off through the forest with his destination unknown.
“Livia?” Ancharia peeked through the curtain “Go away mother”
She entered anyways Livia turned away from her drawing her knees closer to her chest to lay her head on her arms and weep. Ancharia took a seat behind her she reached her hand out and put it on her shoulder “I'm sorry but this the way it has to be. It is far too dangerous for Quintus to court you”
“What about what I want?”
“I want to tell you a story about when I was sixteen. There was a boy about two years older than me. He loved to hunt and catch fish, he was uncouth and had a penchant to drink. Naturally my mother and father did not approve they wanted someone more wholesome and who would provide me a life of stability and would be able to give me all himself. That man they wanted for me was your father. And I had the greatest years of my life with him”
Livia turned to her mother “Why can't I be with Quintus?”
“Quintus's life is much too temporary and you could fall victim to the Master and I would never forgive myself for that and neither would Quintus. I want you with someone who will be able to live life by your side and grow old with you. I want the same things for you my mother and father wanted for me”
“Quintus can give me those things and more, mother. I love him and it is him I choose. I am going to choose to rebel against your wishes and be with him anyways. If I die then I die” she stood up but before she left she turned around “And besides you lied you didn't marry the man your parents wanted father was the rebellious boy and you defied them. He told me that story when I was five nice try mother”
Ancharia smirked “Of course you told her” she whispered shaking her head. Livia may not have been her daughter by blood but she still managed to be just as stubborn, defiant and head strong as her. She couldn't have been prouder.
Chapter 12: Beauty Marred
Merry Christmas or if you prefer Happy Holidays! This the last chapter until after Christmas since I will spending time with my family and I hope you all enjoy your holidays!
Quintus had traveled miles away from camp that would have been at least a few days journey to a human but when he finally stopped he found himself at small house. There was smoke billowing out of the chimney and the through the windows in the candlelight he saw an elderly woman sitting alone at her table. It had been a long travel and the next nearest meal was another day's journey and from what he scented it was moving so it could be farther away by the time he got there.
The woman was sitting down to supper when suddenly she turned her face towards the window had she spotted him? He had wanted to do it quick and painless while she slept but the way his emotional equilibrium had been thrown about he was willing for a fight. “You really want to take an old woman in battle? What are you doing Quintus?” he muttered to himself. This woman was not to blame for his heartache and it didn't matter how many lives he claimed during his turmoil none would make his heart whole again. But then again his heart had never been whole to start with. He lived in a world to which he didn't belong and that would never offer him anything but misery.
Quintus shook his head and turned to go deciding against taking her life at all. Though she was alone it did not mean he would be doing her a favor by ending her life she may have been happy by herself. He would have to learn to keep to himself and at best find contentment. Just as he took a step he heard the door open “Who's out there?” the woman called from the porch.
He turned to her she was staring right at him but still scanning. Quintus could tell by the way she held her hand out in front of her to feel for the bannister and her eyes were filmed over she was blind “Are you waiting for me to make a sound?”
“I heard you coming before you got here. Do you need some help?”
Quintus hung his head she was offering him kindness and he had considered taking her blood by force it was not his shiniest moment “I can sense your pity from all the way over here. Don't do that. I'm not one of the unfortunate ones I am among the blessed”
“How so? You are blind; you shall never see the sun as it rises, the flowers blooming in the spring or the beauty that surrounds you”
The woman offered him a small smile “That may be true but I do not have to see the ugliness of this world either. I can paint everything in my mind the way I want to see it. And I can see better into the hearts of others without having to look into their eyes. So are you coming inside or not?” she felt her way back to her front door and held it open for him. Quintus accepted and walked up the steps as he passed by her she grabbed his sleeve to stop him. She moved her hand to his face feeling it he was ready for her to rescind her invitation but to his surprise when she took her hand away she nodded for him to enter.
“You'll have to forgive me for that but it helps me get a better sense of a person. I feel energies when I touch a person and when I am in their presence”
“I imagine with one of your senses being inaccessible the others are much more heightened even those that are not well known such as second sight”
“Please have a seat. You have traveled far yes?” she said feeling her way to a rocking chair. Quintus took a seat on a wooden chair close to her fireplace.
“I needed to clear my head”
“Running away will not make the problem disappear it will follow you”
“I am not running away just merely processing my thoughts and feelings”
“What is your name?”
“I am Claudia. Are you having trouble with a woman you are courting? You sound heart broken I get a general feeling of sadness surrounding you like a shroud, your light that surrounds you is gray”
Quintus was not surprised that it be such a dismal color “It is not the woman I am having issue with it is what I am that is going to prevent us from being together”
The woman gave him a thoughtful look and leaned in “Believe me it will not. You too should never count yourself among the unfortunate it is a matter of perspective. I do not know what are but I know you were going to walk away instead of bursting my door and killing me. You are not a monster” she stood and moved her long silver locks to one side and tilted her head “Please be quick”
“I cannot” Quintus refused.
“If you want to make it back to see her again sooner then you must. I have lived Quintus and I too have loved and I know any sacrifice made in the name of love will be rewarded by the gods. So take my offering and go as fast as you can back to her”
Quintus rose from his seat and came to her he placed his hands on the back of her arms to hold her steady “Thank you” he whispered she nodded and closed her eyes. He didn't know if she felt any pain but when he released her and she fell into his arms her lips were affixed into a smile.
Livia threw a few more logs into the fire she was worried sick about Quintus what if he never came back? She sat there feeling guilty about slapping him but she couldn't believe he wasn't going to fight for their love. It was particularly chilly night she gathered her cloak to her more snugly she hoped Ancharia was keeping warm.
Quintus stopped at the tree where he had taught Livia how to touch him and he could see her trying to keep warm and keep the fire burning. He did not wish to defy Ancharia or disrespect her but he loved Livia far too much to just allow any man to take her as his wife. She would have to forgive him or kill him because he was not going to give Livia up.
She felt the wind from Quintus as he swept up behind her and lifted her from her seat into his arms “Quintus, I'm so sorry I slapped you”
“I forgive you and I promise to stand with you”
A kiss from her lips made him go weak in the knees “There will be no need mother knows I will not cease pursuing you. But it means everything to me to hear you say that.”
He carried her into the tent and laid her down on the cot Quintus laid over top of her, he kissed her neck up to her ear “I shall never allow another to have you. You will always belong to me and only to me” he whispered hotly.
His vow made her gasp as he nipped at the delicate flesh of her neck, he placed his hand on her face and rubbed his thumb across her lips “Quintus I want to give myself all to you. Please tonight make me your woman” she whispered breathlessly.
Quintus got up from the bed to shut the curtain while Livia removed her clothing when he turned to see her naked body his cock began to ache. She came to him and helped him pull his robe off she smiled seeing his stiffened cock “Are you certain?” he whispered she answered him by taking his hands and bringing them to her breasts.
“Mmm” she moaned softly as he took control by squeezing her small breasts. He bowed his head as their foreheads touched he let out a groan as she took his erection into her hand and began pulling on it.
He pushed and kneaded her breasts with his hands then took to both nipples with his thumbs he was going to put her in agony as well “Quintus take me!”
Quintus walked Livia backwards to the cot they shared a passionate kiss before she laid down on the bed. He raised her legs so he could get on and between them he pulled her down and rested her legs on his strong shoulders. Her buttocks against his legs and his cock almost touching her engorged pussy. She began to pant with anxiety “We do not have to do this right now” he assured her.
“I want to. I'm just scared that it will hurt” she said softly. Quintus brought his hand around her hips and smoothed his thumb up and down her slit “I promised to never hurt you and I shall not tonight”
Her anxiety eased as he prepared her womanhood for what was to come by stroking her inner folds and clitoris. Livia arched her back and threw her head back as flicked his thumb at her clit her pussy began flooding with her juice. She went to take his hand to stop him like before but she decided against it if she were going to be his woman she would have to endure the sweet torture.
Quintus could easily judge from the way she shook and couldn't catch her breath that she was almost ripe for the picking. He wanted to ensure that she would be filled with wetness so his awaiting member would be able to move in and out gently. A few more strokes and he could smell her sweet musk, she was ready.
When he stopped she knew it was time Livia opened her eyes and watched him take his cock he rubbed the head against her clit “Ohhhh” she breathed. He slid it up and down the slit until it slipped into her inner layer then he did it again making Livia jolt with excitement “Please don't tease me Quintus”
He smiled delighted by his handiwork, spreading her legs wider until the balls of her feet were on the sides of his arms he guided his cock through her labia and began it's journey into her virginal tunnel. Quintus laid forward so they could be close Livia put her arms around his neck and held on tightly as his cock moved more into her pussy. Once it was as far into her as he could get he laid there giving her a moment get used to the feeling of her pussy being filled. The initial pull back felt like a relief but then he drove it right back but it was gently and he did this a few times to ease her, she let out sharp gasps as he pushed more of himself in and light moans as he would pull it out. Quintus raised his head to look at her she had her eyes open but neither said a word.
Once she became more accustomed to his girth he raised himself back up to be on his knees and he held her legs while he drove his cock harder into her “Quintus” she moaned his name desperately. He shut his eyes and let her right leg drop as he moved his hand up her stomach to her breast he'd grope one then the other. Livia felt her vaginal walls began to tighten and the throbbing that she had felt when he touched her returned she was almost there.
He could feel her orgasm beginning and he too was starting his own descent it was like when he touched himself but it was far more intense. The silky hot feel of her pussy tightening around his cock gripped him much better than his own hand, he couldn't last. “Oh gods!” he groaned as he filled her with his seed she began to throb until she let her juices flow all over his cock.
Livia opened her eyes to look at Quintus his eyes were still shut as he was coming down from the body high but another presence alerted her she looked over to the curtain to see a strix she began to scream.
Quintus felt sublime and at peace once it was done he got lost and swept up in his emotions drowning out the world around him. That was hard to do for him but once heard Livia screaming he crashed back to reality and turned to see the strix opening it's mouth. Quickly he got up from the bed and seized the stinger in mid-shot he pulled on it until he tore it out and the strix fell forward. “Dress quickly” he instructed her and she obeyed. He threw his robe on and came out of the curtain to see one encroaching upon Ancharia he pulled it away from her and began beating it.
Ancharia awakened to witness Quintus pummeling them with his bare hands she winced. Livia made her way to her mother they embraced and watched as he took every last one out “He has found you. He will come here now”
“Good. Let him come” Quintus seethed if the Master wanted him so badly he was going to give him just that. He dared to try to sneak in and claim his loved ones Quintus was tired of running from him he was going to end him.
“No! You're not ready yet. The Master is too powerful. We must go, right this moment” Ancharia said as she began gathering what little she could.
Livia couldn't look at Quintus as the guilt of what could have happened stung her like a nest of bees in her heart “Take only what we need. We will head to the mountains and into the caves to seek shelter. Livia” Ancharia touched her arm she was staring at the dead strix around them.
“Go pack your things hurry”
She ran to her room and gathered her pack, bow and quiver when she came out to join them she and Quintus exchanged looks this was on the both of them. How could something that felt so beautiful turn so ugly?
Chapter 13: Deprivation
It had been two days inside the cave and the freezing temperatures were getting to Livia. She hadn't been able to sleep since they arrived and while she insisted it was just because it was cold, Quintus knew it was from the guilt she carried for Ancharia almost being attacked while they were making love. Quintus finally decided it was time to help Livia pull out of the guilt "It was not your fault that they came into our camp" he spoke watching her stare into the fire somberly.
"But if you had been where you were supposed to be and I was where I was supposed to be, they would not have made it into camp. If she ever finds out what we were doing, she'll be furious"
He took a seat beside her and wrapped his arms around her pulling her close. Quintus kissed her forehead while she leaned into him "She would forgive us after some time, she knows we're given to the same weaknesses as all people are" he assured her.
"Maybe but I still feel so guilty. If anything happens to mother because of me I don't know how I'll live with myself" Livia whispered glancing over at her mother sleeping.
"We will be more careful and watchful" Quintus vowed Livia looked up at him "Are you saying you want to do that again?"
"I may be only half human but I desire Livia and I need" he traced his finger along her jaw line to her lips.
"There is no privacy in here we could wake mother" she was becoming swept away by his eyes and thoughts of experiencing the body bliss again.
"We can go through there I will keep you warm and I promise we won't be long" he nodded towards a side of the cave that they had explored when they first entered and set up camp.
Livia bit her bottom lip as she wrestled with what to do Quintus knew her tells "I will be quick" he whispered kissing under her ear to her neck she was almost ready to get up and drag him but instead she stood up and removed her clothing in the fire light.
"What are you doing?"
"Shhh" she placed her finger to his lips then tugged at his robe for him to remove it. Quintus rose from his seat and hesitantly began pulling it up over his head. They stood before each other he was stimulated but also anxious because of a few steps away Ancharia could wake and find them in a compromising position but Livia placed her hands on his chest and pushed him downward until he got the context to sit back down.
Quintus opened his knees to welcome her and helped her mount his waist Livia traced her fingers around his lips "Must you tease me so?" he asked to which she smiled, "I don't mean to but remember we must be quiet" he nodded.
He watched with curious eyes as Livia moved her hand down to his cock and guided it to her warm love tunnel. They both had to take a deep breath as it slid into her she rested her hands on the sides of his neck as his hands gripped her waist to help move her on and off.
Quintus felt Livia's legs tighten around him and her mouth dropped open he had to kiss her quick before the sound escaped. She purred into their kiss as his cock hit her deeper with each thrust and against the inside near her clit "Lay me down" she broke the kiss to gasp out.
Gently with his hands behind her head he laid her down on his robe but managed to keep himself inserted. He opened her legs and wrapped them around his waist as he drove his cock home to her. Her sweet nectar coated his cock and he could feel a shiver in his spine as some of his juices spilled into her.
Their hands locked into one another and she threw her head back as he touched every part of her delicate insides. He kissed her neck and put his weight into her almost as if they were melding into one being. "Quintus...my love" she gasped like it was her last breath but when his eyes met hers she could breath again.
His palms covered her breasts fondling and squeezing them "I'm so close Quintus please finish me"
Resting his head in the cradle of her neck he kept his hips at a consistent speed faster and faster until he felt her legs squeeze around him and she began shaking underneath him. He placed his fingers to her lips "Shhh love don't" he whispered kissing her.
When it was over they dressed quickly but he held her again as they talked "What will you do after my life is extinguished?" Quintus asked. It had been something he pondered about since they had began their relationship and now he felt comfortable enough to discuss it.
"I don't know I have not thought that far ahead and I hope to the gods it isn't too close so I don't have to find out"
"I know this depresses you so but I need to know that you will have happiness even after I am gone" he stroked her hair she laid into his arms.
"Can we not dwell on this? Right now you and I here in one another's arms that is all I want to think about" she cuddled up and began to fall asleep.
Quintus managed to get free from her embrace, he lifted her up and laid her on a makeshift bed made from animal fur and wrapped her up in a blanket. He settled down sitting by the fire contemplating all that had been and all that was to come. He had found a family and even more than that a lover, a woman who wanted him it was truly mind blowing.
Lost in thought he didn't hear them sweep in until he heard him speak "You are Invictus" Quintus quickly arose with a sword in hand ready to defend his family.
"You would take up arms against me? You have spirit, Invictus" the Master was most pleased the fruit of his essence was not a waste.
Ancharia awoken in a panic she scanned the area for Livia but felt her heart drop seeing how close she was to the Master his stinger would surely reach her if he chose to release his fury upon them. Her eyes were opened and she just stayed still she didn't panic as she knew Quintus would do anything to protect her and if the Master had heard her heart rate elevate he surely would attack. "My name is Quintus!" he held it tighter in his grip so the Master would be certain he wasn't going to back down.
The Master looked at him with disgust "You carry yourself like a human"
"Quintus, do not engage him" Ancharia warned hoping he wouldn't lose his head and put Livia at risk.
"I am the agent of your destruction" Quintus wasn't unaware of Livia he was trying to keep the Master focused on him so she would not be a temptation to him.
"The huntress and her imp have indulged your human half. I will put your resolve to the test." he said with a grin.
"I am ready to fulfill my destiny" he inched closer ready to use his full speed to keep him away from his love.
"No. Not in battle, Invictus. Deprivation will reveal your true nature" he snarled then with his swift exit it caused rocks to collapse enclosing the entrance.
Livia got up quickly and ran to Quintus's arms "I trusted you wouldn't let him hurt me but what are we going to do about that? You and I can move it right?"
"We will try..."
Chapter 14: The Right Thing
The slow drips of melting ice that Quintus caught were not enough to sustain Ancharia or Livia's hydration. Ancharia hadn't move from her bed in days while Livia moved around weakly, she being far younger would last longer but Quintus knew what the end game of this entrapment was supposed to mean, that he'd betray his beloved and the woman he now loved like a mother for sustenence but he fought back the overwhelming desire. He had to remind himself how much he loved them and that they were now in his charge, if it came down to it he'd die first.
Livia started out optimistic as she and Quintus tried to free themselves from the debris but after just a few hours she tired out. She would spend the next couple of days following hurting her hands with scrapes and bruises as her angst and rage took over and made her try to claw her way out. Both she and Ancharia's breathing had slowed and there were times Quintus would have to apply deep pressure to stir Ancharia, he knew she wasn't going to make it but it would not be from his stinger.
He sat beside Livia to give her some of the water "Quintus..." she tried to speak but he shushed her "Reserve your energy. You're running out of oxygen"
A stray tear escaped her eyes "He wants you to kill us. He wants you to be just like him. Please Quintus save us" she begged breaking his heart. He was doing the best he could but without blood he lost his strength to go at the rocks. "I am trying my love."
She fell asleep or at least he hoped it was just sleep he then tried to give Ancharia some water, "Quintus, I know that you also thirst. I am dying and Livia needs this water more than I" Ancharia groaned "You will continue to waste. And when the Master returns, you will be too weak to defend yourself or her" she gazed over at Livia his eyes followed then turned back to her "Drink me, Quintus, and use me and your strength to help you both escape. Do not fight him. There will be another opportunity to defeat him. But not here. Not now. You must escape" she pleaded the agony could be more than heard it was felt.
"I won't do it" he refused, this was the woman who saved his life and gave him the family he had longed for, he couldn't bring himself to take her life and he wasn't sure if Livia would ever be able to forgive him.
"The Master cannot love so he takes it from others, feeds upon it, along with their blood. I know you love my daughter and will do what is best for her but I love you like a son"
Quintus reached for hand "Mother" it felt bittersweet to finally be able to say the word, to acknowledge her as his own but painful as he knew she wasn't going to give up until he gave in. "Please, my son. I am suffering..." she took a dagger and dragged it across her skin to bait him "...drink..."
It was over fairly quickly but still nonetheless the worst thing Quintus ever had to do and something he hoped he'd never have to do again. Once she had faded away Quintus wept, something he was not even aware he was capable of doing but it was short lived as he started to build the plan in his mind of how he would escape with Livia when the Master returned.
Once he made it safely from the cave with Livia bundled up in his arms he sped down the mountains seeking a shelter. Halfway down he spotted a small house at the base, there was evidence of a fire in the fireplace because of the smoke puffing out. He carried Livia to the stairs of the small porch but he stopped before knocking.
Quintus knew whoever lived inside probably wouldn't look too kindly upon him. Livia wasn't going to make it another few miles before she too would succumb to the freezing cold. He looked down at her pale face she looked like an angel resting in his arms.
The Master would not fail to try to cut him off and leave him alone with his beloved to prove how many lives he would consume to save his own. It was then Quintus knew what had to be done to protect Livia.
A knock on the door stirred the middle aged dark haired man from his sleep in the rocking chair by the fire. He came to the door to see no one standing but something caught his eye out of the window of the door, a bundled up face.
He tore the door open to see a young woman laying wrapped up on his porch he scanned the area for a sign of life but just saw a one set of footprints at the stairs.
Chapter 15: Responsible
First let me apologize for this and the previous chapter being so short but I've been recovering from a stomach virus and taking care of family members who caught it as well. Next week I shall deliver more lengthy chapters. Thank you to those still with me on this you are far more appreciated than you know ❤
Heat but not Quintus's body heat was what Livia felt when she began waking up. It was all around her and while she was alarmed it felt nice, it was a relief from the dank cold of the caves. Livia's mind became startled when she remembered the caves, mother and Quintus; blinking her eyes a few times everything in sight was a blur but she could tell by the colors and lights that surrounded her she wasn't in the cave anymore.
A groan let her caretaker know she was finally coming around he finished stirring his soup then went to get the water, she'd need plenty of that. Livia felt a hand touch her own "Quintus?" she breathed out faintly. She looked down at the hand the color of the flesh was like hers, bewildered and confused she looked up to the face to which it belonged. Her vision began becoming clearer and once in focus she saw a man with long dark hair and a dark beard "I know no Quintus but I am Cassius, I found you on my doorstep someone left you"
No, he couldn't have done that. Quintus wouldn't have done that. She had to think back to the last thing she could remember about the cave, but the only thing she could recall was the last time he tried to bring her water she begged him to help she and mother. When Cassius tried to put the cup to her lips she jerked her head away in protest "You are going to need to drink plenty of water to recover. I do not know how severe the damage from the cold has been to your body but I will examine you after you have had something to eat. Please drink"
His words sparked something it was faint and weak memory she heard mother pleading with Quintus but the words were jumbled. Livia was still at least vagrantly conscious she had her eyes half open but she saw him and saw what he did. Cassius heard her begin to gag and heave he grabbed a wash cloth and soaked it in the warm water he then patted her forehead and wiping down to her neck "Please you must drink the water" he offered it to her again. Livia struggled to get the fluid past her lips and choked on it at first but she managed to get it down.
Cassius let her rest after she had finished a full cup, she laid there hoping everything she had remembered was a trick of her mind. Quintus swore he'd never hurt either of them but if that were true where was her mother? Where was Quintus? Why did he leave her? Another promise he had broken, was he really a monster pretending all that time? Or was he going to return for her?
Several times did Quintus think about heading back for Livia and twice did he turn to actually do it but then he remembered if the Master did it once he'd do it again. He turned back to the opposite direction and keep going trying to deal with the gnawing guilt and the heart break of leaving the only one he had left behind for some stranger to tend to. It was then Quintus had grown aggravated with his thoughts and he stopped to realize he was only walking at a normal pace, he didn't realize it until that moment but he could've been farther away than what he currently was if he had just sped up.
"You did this to yourself, you created your own misery by choosing not to use your abilities." he thought bitterly to himself. But he knew if he raced off he would be even farther away from Livia though she was already three days behind him. One final stop and he looked back the way he came "Stop doing this to yourself Quintus. You cannot go back. You can never go back, she will be hurt and she may hate you but it is better for her to hate you and live than to love you and die" the words rang out in him like shot he hung his head accepting his fate. "Goodbye my love" he whispered on the wind then took off like an arrow flung from Hell as far away as his misery would take him.
Chapter 16: Journies
Livia had lost all concept of dates and time she just knew how her heart burned for Quintus. Winter was over and it was heading into spring she had made excellent progress with Cassius's help who convinced her that if Quintus had not loved her he would have left her to die instead of bringing her to him. "You have a made a miraculous recovery you should be proud" Cassius said setting dinner in front of her.
"Yes, I am happy I am not paralyzed. Thank you Cassius for all you have done but when spring comes I am heading out. I have to find him" she said scraping her spoon inside the bowl.
"How? I do not know how he only managed to leave one set of footprints at my steps. Does he have family?"
She sat silently aching in her heart because she and her mother were the only family Quintus ever had but if he were still hunting his father he would most likely go where the population was heavier "Yes, I believe his father is in Rome. I hate to ask because you have done so much already for me but I am going to need enough supplies and food to get me to Rome. It would be nice to have a bow and arrows for hunting but also to defend myself if need be"
Cassius didn't speak at first he had hoped Livia would want to stay with him but he could tell that whoever this Quintus was, must've been a very important man to her "Yes, I will help get you everything you need."
Armed with a bow, arrows and a sword plus food, water and medical supplies she headed on her way to Rome. All she could think about on the way were the questions she was going to ask Quintus when she saw him again. She knew Cassius was a lonely man and was kind enough but he wasn't the man she loved. "Is that what you were hoping? That'd I forget all about you?" she asked aloud entering into the forest where there was snow and it was a little bit warmer. Livia stopped to remove her coat she folded it up and packed it away it'd be useful to sleep on at night.
She heard the snapping of twigs coming towards her she withdrew her sword and waited watching both sides of the forest. A strix came upon her and it's eyes reddened at the sight of her "You! You and your Master! He may have succeeded in separating us but I will find him and there is not a damn thing the Master can do to stop us once we are reunited!" she went to decapitate it's head when it spoke.
"Imp of the huntress you dare to threaten me? You are a fool if you believe you can tame Invictus, he let you live but he is more my son than he is human. He will eventually consume you, turn back while you can!"
Livia sneered "Never!" she screamed swinging the blade tearing the flesh instantaneously until the head rolled from the shoulders. "You are wrong! Quintus is nothing like you!" she shouted at it but the eyes were a vacant black she stomped the head until she felt the satisfying squish under her boot and it's white blood and worms oozed around the ground.
After setting fire to the body and ground around it she gave it one last look then continued onward.
Rome was a very active and vibrant place but Quintus only saw it at night as he needed to feed. He only took the lives of the deserving, those that Quintus caught stealing, raping or murdering but unbeknownst to him a witness had reported what they saw and Quintus had to move frequently around Rome trying to escape being caught.
He took refuge outside of the city in a small abandoned farm cottage and he made sure to take different routes to get back home before the sun rose to evade his captors. During the day he tended to the house and all around it, fixing it up in hopes that maybe Livia might one day come walking through the front door. But Quintus knew that was never going to happen because he ensured it wouldn't.
The day time drove him crazy thinking about Livia, her smile and how she closed her eyes every time they kissed. He missed the sound of her voice and her whispers of 'I love you' they were never to be heard again. And sometimes he'd think of Ancharia, the guilt burned holes through him until he'd get so frustrated he go outside and punched trees until they'd fall over and he'd cry for the two of them. He hated what he was, absolutely fucking hated himself.
"Why are you crying over what you lost? You were not meant to have it in the first place! You should not have gotten close to them" one more thud with his fist against the bark then he hit his knees and wept. It was moments like that he would close his eyes and imagine Livia coming up behind him and wrapping her arms around to his chest and holding him tightly and whispering to him "What's wrong?" the imagery was becoming stronger to him.
"I miss you and I think I made a mistake by leaving you" he whispered through his sobs.
He could imagine her giggling "Well, that sounds simple just come back for me"
"I cannot do that. I am protecting you by leaving you behind" it was as if he could feel her wrapping herself even more around him and her lips resting near his ear "Then maybe you need to forget me"
Quintus's eyes snapped open as the imagery faded away he knew that was not something Livia would actually have suggested to him but maybe it was finally his logic kicking in. He took a deep breath and got up when he turned around he was startled to see a young woman standing before him.
"I did not wish to disturb you but I have seen you leaving the city. I know what you do there at night..." she was a small brunette no more than seventeen or eighteen years of age with almond shaped brown eyes and she began backing up as Quintus approached her.
"Did you bring the guards here for me? Hoping for a reward? Well I will have you drained by the time they get here" he let his mouth drop slightly she saw his stinger beginning to erupt from it.
"WAIT! No, I did not bring the guards. I know you only kill bad men and I need your help" she held her hands up in surrender. Quintus disarmed and narrowed his eyes at her while his stinger rattled with curiosity.
"I am not a hero for hire nor do I feel like being bothered by you or your kind" he turned to go when he heard a bag rattling she threw it on the ground at the side of his feet.
"It is all I have to give but I am desperate, my father is a bad man. He abuses my sister and he used to abuse me. The things he has done I do not think I can bring myself to tell you but please I want it to stop but I do not think I can bring myself to do it with my own hands. Please you can be quick..."
He spun around angrily "Leave this place and me alone! What makes you believe I care about you or your sister?"
Tears began spilling out the corner of her eyes "Please I do not know what else I can say or give you but if you do this one thing I will not bother you again" she walked forward with her hands together in a pleading manner.
"How old is your sister?"
"Where is your mother?"
"She died in childbirth, we were raised by our grandmother but she passed a year ago but she even she could not protect us. Please I will give you anything else you want. You seem lonely I will give you my body"
Quintus suddenly felt disgusted but also pity for the girl "I do not want your body but will you be able to care for your sister if I should do this?"
"Well, that is something else..." she sputtered but he came to her grabbing her shoulders "You cannot take care of her yet you want me to kill your father? If I do this and orphan that child what will happen to her? The both of you will not fair well in Rome, you clearly did not think this through"
"He touches me in places a father should not touch his daughter" she wobbled her words out. Quintus let her go and turned to go again but something kept nagging at him, damn his human half for being so indulged that he could not go unsympathetic to this girl's plight.
"What is your name?" he asked turning his head to the side but still not looking at her.
His lip snarled as he closed his eyes and he could hear what Livia would say to him "She needs your help Quintus" he opened his eyes to envision her standing before him "Do not close yourself off, he wins if you do that"
Aelia had her head down as she cried when she suddenly felt his hands on her shoulders and he pulled her close to him "I will help you."
Aelia was waiting up for Quintus when he returned one morning "You were up all night? I told you to stop waiting for me I am not a child"
"I know but I do worry about you being caught, they will crucify you. I just like to make sure you come home before I rest. Antonia and I are grateful" she wrapped her arms around him he hesitantly moved his arms up around her.
Quintus could not leave Aelia and Antonia alone in their home and without a way to feed themselves so he brought them to the cottage where they helped him cleaning and he brought them food. He did not know why he entertained the idea of having another family around him it would surely be a disaster for him and possibly for them as well but until Aelia could figure out what she was going to do in the long term to provide for she and her sister he was stuck with them.
"You should go to bed I am safe" he said pushing her away slightly. He was heading into his bedroom when she stood in front of the door.
"Who is the woman you imagine you are talking to? You say her name in your sleep, Livia. Who is Livia?"
"Someone I once loved" he went for the door knob when she placed her hand over it to stop him "Is she dead?"
"Not that I know of and I hope not. Please I do not wish to say anymore about her or what happened. I need rest" he urged her to move. She stood there a little bit longer but eventually relented to allow him to pass. Aelia knew he never grew tired but it was obvious she was poking around a sensitive wound.
"Would not your words be better left spoken to her rather than an apparition of her?" she lingered on the subject frustrating Quintus "No, go to bed Aelia" he pushed the door open then shut it behind him with a slight slam.
He leaned against the door. Why did you let them in Quintus? You know how this will end the same way it ended with Livia, do not dare think of her! Even though you obviously cannot stop blabbering in your sleep about her. You could go back and face her; she may slap you and send you away or she could embrace you and forgive you. You did not even stay behind to tell her about mother.
It was then Quintus made the decision to head back to the mountains he would go into the town that night to gather enough food for Aelia and Antonia for a few days and then he would set off to bring Livia back. He sat down on the bed feeling the pressure in his head relieved as he came to his epihany. Laying down he shut his eyes and drifted off to sleep in peace finally. And soon Livia would be laying in his arms.
Vowing to return in a few days he armed Aelia with a dagger and taught her how to use it in case she needed to defend herself and Antonia "But why will you not let us come with you? We feel safer with you!" Aelia protested as Quinlan geared up to go for Livia.
"It will be only for a few days no more than three, I promise. Aelia she looks to you for strength and if you show fear she will be afraid as well. Be strong" he kissed her forehead lightly. She held Quintus's hands then threw her arms around his neck and pressed her lips to his.
Quintus had to pry her off of him she was severely confused "Aelia what are you doing?"
"If that is what it takes for you to stay here then I offer myself. I know what will happen when you find your Livia, you will forget us and abandon us" she turned away in shame. Quintus brushed the back of his hand against her cheek she threw herself into his arms and wept against his chest.
"I will not abandon the two of you, you will see that when I return with Livia. We can be a family. Do not offer yourself to someone to make them stay, offer yourself out of love. You do not love me Aelia and as well you should not. I will return look after your sister and if anyone approaches while you are outside take her and run back in here, lock the doors and go under the house - remember I showed you where the secret door is?"
She pointed to underneath the table he nodded "Good. You will be alright" he reassured her one last time then bolted from outside the front door Aelia stood in the doorway staring still feeling the breeze from his departure with a saddened look "Please gods bring him back to us."
A familiar scent caught Quintus's attention and slowed him down, he stood in the center of the forest inhaling deeply. The subtle hints of lavendar caught his attention but then there was a musk, female musk and one he had remembered very well. "Livia?" he tuned his sense of smell into it and followed it back to the bottom of the mountain he scanned the area for any clues when he came across a burnt area of ground and to the side wiggling in the grass a white worm.
Quintus was about to lose his mind if he didn't figure out what happened to her or where she went. He had to retrace her steps further back to the cabin he left her at. The snow had gone away and the man was outside doing repairs on his roof when Quintus came to a halt "Can I...help you?" he asked getting a look at Quintus.
"There was a young woman I left at your door in the winter please tell me she is still here"
The man came down but did not come close enough "No, she left when spring first arrived she said she was going to Rome to find you that your father lived there"
Quintus felt as if the breath had been knocked completely out of him he had to get back to Rome and fast before danger would befall her if it hadn't already. He disappeared as quickly as he appeared and stopped again at the forest entrance he was in a panic and it was throwing his senses off "Calm down and just breathe her scent in" he closed his eyes took it into his nostrils but he was going to lose it half as it had dispersed in different directions all around. Was she running from something? Did the Master find out she was coming for him and sent his slaves to take her?
"NO! Do not think that way! Livia is not helpless she is a warrior she may have made it to Rome safely" he had to talk to himself and stop thinking so negatively. He decided to head back to the cottage before heading to Rome to pick up her scent again to put Aelia's fears aside.
"Aelia? Antonia?" Quintus came into the cottage but neither girl seemed to be around he searched all around the upstairs but when he came out of their bedroom he saw that the handle to the shelter underneath the house was exposed "No..." thinking the most terrible thoughts he threw the kitchen table across the room breaking it against the wall.
He lifted the handle to see candlelight "Girls?" he called down and he could hear movement. Quintus began having a gut feeling something wasn't right and when he climbed down the sight of them confirmed it. They were found by the Master most likely and had been turned judging by the way they were almost completely turned he had been there not too long after Quintus had left them.
"Invictus late again I see" he spoke through Aelia. Quintus unsheathed his sword "You cannot seem to stop letting the ones you love down can you? Why bother with love at all?"
"Of course you would think that love is a waste of time because you cannot love!" Quintus yelled.
"Yes, that is true but everyone you love ends up suffering for you. They cried out for you to save them Invictus and they believed you would come even at the very last drop of their blood. I have them now and soon I will take one last thing from you then you shall have nothing to live for"
"AHHH!" Quintus cried out taking both Aelia and Antonia's heads with his sword at the same time. He hit his knees and sobbed looking into their lifeless eyes "I am sorry."
I feel really bad for dragging two innocent girls into this but they were to help Quintus with his humanity and their death will serve to remind him not to turn his back on his loved ones. It's a rough way to motivate a character believe me I struggled with writing it :'(
Chapter 18: The Arrangement
Hey guys! Sorry but this is a short chapter it's just a bridge for what is to come the image at the end is the mood board I created for what's coming up but YAY next chapter reunites Livia and Quintus! And it is a much longer chapter as is the one that follows. Thanks for sticking around, you guys rock!
It was just before sun down when Livia had arrived in Rome she figured at nightfall would be best to find Quintus but with Rome being overwhelmingly large she would have to resort to asking around if there had been any sightings. She came to a place of business that was open but was met at the door by a very muscular man "No entry unless you have money or if you'd like to earn some money" he said with a devilish smile.
"I am not sure your meaning but I am searching for someone, he only comes out at night" the man gave her a condescending look "Lots of men come here at night. Give me money and I shall let you in to search" he offered to her. Livia took a small pouch she handed it to the man he stood aside and let her pass.
Livia knew right away this was a brothel but it may have been a place Quintus would come to feed or at least she hoped not. Everywhere there were women whose bodies were exposed and men suckling at their breasts and grabbing at others. There was a hedonistic energy causing Livia to become overwhelmed she had to get some air she got turned around and ended up walking into a private room. There was a man surrounded by four women "I am sorry I am trying to find my way out"
The man gave her a seductive glance snapping his fingers for the other women to stop "Leave us alone" he ordered them.
"I think you are confused I am not...one of them" she didn't wish to make enemies or insult anyone. He just laughed "I do not care if you are or not. You are a beautiful woman, you have the face of a goddess. Come sit here with me I want to hear about you. Lets start with your name"
"Livia but I only came here in search of someone but I do not think he is here. I must be going" she went to back out the door but the other four women blocked her path shoving her back towards the man on the bed. She looked away from his exposed penis "Does this bother you? Mmm a woman of virtue that is most hard to find in a den of sin. I will cover myself if that would make you more comfortable. I am Senator Faustus Sertorius and I think you are the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on"
She still stood refusing to sit down "Thank you for the compliment but I really must be going. I am looking for a man"
He smiled and chuckled "Look no further. This man you seek obviously does not wish to be found and have you come a long way for him?"
Livia stopped herself from leaving she turned to him "How do you know this?"
"That pained look in your eyes. He was a man you loved, no woman gets such a look in her eyes unless a man has hurt her so. Spurned your love did he? He is a fool. Livia - such a beautiful name it is as if you were hand carved by the gods. Please give me an audience I will not ask you to do what they do and if I am particularly fond of you I may just ask you to my home and if you please me even more so I may just make you my wife."
"Thank you for your kind and generous offer but I am afraid I must decline. Now please let me out" she said to the women who just stood firm.
Faustus got up from the bed and wrapped his robe around him he came up behind Livia brushing her hair aside her shoulder "You would dare refuse a senator? I could turn you in for prostitution and they will execute you"
Her mouth dropped open she looked at him with pleading eyes to which he smiled "Now be a good girl and have a seat. I have a good feeling about you Livia. A very good feeling."
Chapter 19: Estranged
Two months later...
"Darling?" a soft feminine voice called before entering the room. When Quintus turned to see the woman who entered his heart skipped a beat. It was Livia.
They both stood gazing at one another "Quintus this is my wife Livia. Livia this is The Night Demon of Sicily or as he is now known as The Barbarian Gladiator. I am sponsoring him and he is worth every bit of money" Faustus gleamed.
"Don't you think those titles are demeaning?" she spoke to Quintus but Faustus naturally assumed she was speaking to him.
"My wife is a delicate flower and has such a gentleness about her but these titles make him feared. It speaks to his strength and his unparalleled ability to slay any man or beast"
"What of his character?" this was escalating into an argument and Faustus would not allow her to embarrass him in front of his warrior or his guards "What is it you want woman?"
Quintus could feel a bubble of anger rising from the pit of his gut how dare he speak to her that way but he stood as still as stone "I only came to inquire about the decorating of the nursery"
He felt as if his heart had dropped she was pregnant with the senator's child and so soon. It tore through Quintus worse than any blade could ever "Do as you please with it woman I am not into décor"
"I am aware of that darling, I only ask because it is your money"
"Whatever you want you shall have. Nothing shall be too good for my son"
Quintus eyed Livia rolling her eyes behind his back he could tell she was not happy "Very well I shall gather the servants and make my purchases. Good luck in the games Quintus." she nodded towards him as she turned to leave.
"Your wife is pregnant?" Quintus inquired although he knew he should not have but Faustus didn't rebuke him.
"Not yet we are preparing for her to be the vessel of my lineage. Her body will make a fine home for my sons, she has the right stature and is sturdily built. Our wedding night was most joyous of a celebration" he laughed but Quintus didn't find him amusing instead he began to growl.
"Is it time for a feeding? Guards take him back to his quarters and bring him a nice selection from the prostitute lot nothing sickly. I cannot take the chance of he consuming tainted blood he is after all one of my most prized possessions"
His arrogance made Quintus fume he knew the other prized possession was Livia it made him furious she married the senator but he had left her behind in hopes she would find someone to love and care for her but she only married for security this was partly his fault.
Down in his quarters he could hear the guards bringing his meal to him "NO! PLEASE SOMEBODY HELP!" the whore screamed but the guards shoved her forward towards his door.
Quintus awaited in the corner as they opened the door and shoved her in "Please don't do this I've learned my lesson, I will not use my body for money please let me go" she begged and pleaded but they just laughed at her and walked away.
The girl hit her knees and wallowed in her tears and misery "We are all victims of our poor choices but it is most unfair when we have to make those choices under the weight of poverty and starvation" he spoke to her. She cautiously turned to look at the corner "What is your name?"
"Sylvia" she had ravenous locks and a healthy glow to her tan skin she was in perfect condition.
"Please I'll do anything you want just please I do not wish to die"
"If you live they will only kill you themselves. If you should manage to escape you will go right back to where you started from poverish, starving and desperate. You will go back to prostituting your body for money. It's a cycle you humans follow"
She cried even harder because he was right she would most likely end up back where she was before she was captured. "But I am feeling most benevolent, tell me what you are willing to do for me and I will see to it you are freed with payment. You are to take the money and go away from here to start a new life and if you are caught again I will drain you of every drop of blood am I making myself understood?"
"Yyes" she sputtered through her sobs this demon she had heard horrid stories about was actually capable of mercy and compassion. It was most unusual.
"But what do you want me to do for you? Do you want my body?"
Quintus after hearing her ask felt ashamed of himself but that was exactly what he wanted. Seeing Livia again burdened him with desires but if he were caught trying to solicit from the senator's wife he would be killed. "I do but I will not treat you like filth or that you are beneath me. I will not request anything other intercourse if you do not wish to see my face then turn away on your knees and I will take you from behind" he leaned forward to reveal himself to her she gasped with fright.
Sylvia removed what little garments she had and got on all fours in front of him, Quintus removed his tunic. The head of his cock brushed against her ass cheek she let out a small moan of approval. Quintus then began to suspect she was not a prostitute only because she was poor but because she was a deviant who enjoyed it "Tell me how many men have had you?"
"Only four" she could have been lying but he would not know for certain.
"Do you enjoy it?"
"Please I am human. There are a few moments of bliss with every person"
At least she spoke truth he spread her a bit wider then dipped his head low to get his nose close enough to scent her. He could not smell any trace of infection she was clean "Relax I am only checking to see if you're clean of an infectious disease" he felt her legs wobbling with fear.
She purred as Quintus reached his hand around and began rubbing her mound in slow circles "So you know seduction? You are more than a brutal savage I see"
"I have loved yes. I have enjoyed intimacy and can give pleasure like you wouldn't believe" his promise to give her ecstasy made her sigh as she inched herself backwards and lowered her upper half to present herself to him.
Quintus moved his hand from front to back and he began teasing her clitoris as her milky wetness juiced from her entrance. When she was good and wet enough Quintus rose from his knees straight up to meet her, he dipped the cock's head into her nectar and began moving his girth inside.
"Ahhh" she gasped as his entire prick filled her he put a strong grip on her hips and began thrusting fiercely.
Lost in the sex all he could think of was Livia and remembering how he took her virginity and made her a woman, his woman. Her legs wrapped around his waist, her feet resting against his ass and her arms anchored around his neck and head keeping his face pressed to her neck. The way she started out so tight and she bit back screams from the tearing it made him even more aroused her pussy stretching to fit him inside of her and then when she became adjusted and he moved in and out so much easier he wasn't aware of it but he was getting more aggressive with Sylvia. The more he thought about Livia the more frustrated he became and angry that he stupidly and foolishly left her at that stranger's door. She found her way there and Faustus found her and that's when his frustration gave way to rage.
"Please stop" Slyvia whined from beneath him but he didn't stop because he could not hear her pleading. She let out a piercing scream trying to alert someone that's when it rang in Quintus's ears he reacted quickly by shooting his stinger into the back of her neck and drained her as he finished screwing her.
When the guards came to remove her they found her completely naked on the floor but he was standing at the window looking out "Did you have yourself a little fun with the whore?" one guard mused but Quintus didn't answer he just growled so they moved quickly to get out before he drained them.
He regretted his actions but there was no taking it back but he would have to work out his own inner demons concerning Livia before he murdered the senator.
Chapter 20: Rekindling
Another senseless battle for the sake of entertainment and this time Quintus could sense Livia's eyes were on him and he knew when he ended the man's life she looked away. Faustus rose from his seat in applause while Livia looked on with disgust. He had became a spectacle and it made him a disgrace in her eyes it was then the weight of what he had become bore down on him.
While Faustus entertained guests Livia slipped away unnoticed by her husband and guests to Quintus's quarters "The Barbarian Gladiator" she said standing at the bars that kept him within.
"Livia" he turned from the window and came to her. The sadness in her eyes that he saw when they first met had returned but this time it was far heavier than when she was a girl.
"You allowed yourself to be captured? Why?"
"I was curious as to what they wanted me so badly for. You married a senator? Why?" he countered.
"I looked for you after I recovered but I was mistakenly entered a brothel and there is where he found me and wanted me for himself. If I had refused his offer he surely would have had me put to death. So I guess we're both in cages mine is just glittered with gold and all the luxurious trappings"
Grief and mourning had embittered his love, she was no longer light and her eyes were now permanently tinted gray from devastation. Livia didn't know why she had came down to see him so she turned to leave when she felt Quintus's fingers touch hers "Wait please"
"I can't see you like this. To think of how my parents searched for you and my father lost his life in that search. Then mother and I freed you only for you to allow yourself to be put back in a damn cage is madness!" she began shouting in anger at him.
"She was my mother too. I loved her"
Livia turned back to the bars with a furious look upon her face "You drank her blood until she was gone. That's not love Quintus!"
"Livia, she was suffering and she begged to be released from this life" he gently explained but it broke her down even further.
"Then you left me. That's not love either. You don't know how to love really, do you? I woke up to a complete stranger taking care of me. And where the hell were you?"
Her words lashed across him like a whip "I left you because I love you. The Master trapped us in that cave so I would reveal my true nature and once I did I knew it was a matter of time before he would do it again. And I wasn't going to allow you to be next. So if that makes me a monster then yes I am cold blooded. But don't you ever say that I do not know how to love!" he whipped back at her.
"Why are you here Quintus? For what purpose?"
"I am here to train and to fight as many battles as I can until I am ready for him. I fully intend on fulfilling my destiny and get my revenge on the Master. Why are you here Livia? You do not love him nor do you wish to bear his child"
She leaned her face in closer "I am here because I had no where else to turn and I had nothing to lose at that point because I had already lost my mother, my only parent and I lost you. So what if I do not love him? He provides for me and takes care of me. At least he is brave enough for that"
Quintus snarled "Brave? Your husband is a coward, a greedy coward. He like most of the aristocrats will be taken by the hands of those that are beneath him. Is that how you want to die? With him? I thought you were better than that"
"How dare you?!?" she stepped back from the door and looked around for the keys she found them hanging on a nail behind her. Livia yanked them down and put the key into the lock opening the door she stepped into the center of the room and slapped him across his face.
"I see we have learned a few things as well" was all he said. "I know what you do with the whores they bring you. The guards tell tales" she smirked.
He could hear the jealousy oozing through her words "Do you know why I believe you brought them up? Or why you even came down here?" he came closer to her but she didn't flinch.
"Why's that?" they were in a stare down.
"Because you're jealous that I have been with other women and you still love me. That is why it breaks your heart that I am caged"
He had fired the one shot at her that made her feel the weakest she went to flee but he put his hands to her waist and held her still "Quintus he'll have you killed"
"Let him try. Livia, I love you still and I cannot bear not being the one you're with. The one you lay with when I know that's what you really want"
"It's what I've been wanting. He'll have us both killed if we get caught"
They were embarking on a dangerous liaison knowing that it could end in death but neither cared of consequence they could not live without one another and surely they would die together. He lifted her up and wrapped her legs around his torso they were face to face evenly. Livia draped her arms around his neck "I've missed you Quintus. I need you now more than ever..."
Chapter 21: The Deception
Quintus felt Livia grab onto his arms from underneath him as she arched her back, he opened his eyes to witness her tilt her head all the way back and her mouth opened letting out a gasp "Quintus!" she cried out. He parted her legs wider and pressed himself further into her until every last inch of his cock was inside of her. Livia writhed around on the bed completely consumed "Quintus! My Quintus!" she moaned digging her nails down his arm as he moved faster. She began panting and her body shook as she reached her climax, the arch in her back straightened out and she collapsed back down to the bed. Quintus laid forward over her she welcomed him into her arms, planting kisses all over his cheek and neck "I have missed you I was afraid I would never see you again."
"If I had not turned myself in you probably would not have. But I am furious you married him" Quintus said laying his head aside her breasts. Livia brought her hand to his head and began massaging it lightly "I had no choice if I wanted to live. Faustus is arrogant and believes everything his eyes sees that he desires belongs to him. I do not love him Quintus and I do not give myself to him all the time as he would have you believe. He suffers from impotency" she confided to him.
She felt him begin to pull away "Where are you going? We have at least another hour before he returns"
He put his tunic back on "I need to feed and you should not risk getting caught with me in your private quarters and I out of mine"
The division between their worlds became apparent again to Livia as he explained it making her gloomy again he took notice and lifted her chin to look at him "I am never too far away my love"
"Oh Quintus I cannot keep doing this. I hate you living in a cage like an animal I want you in here with me" she rose from the bed and threw her arms around him.
"What is going on in here?!? Why is that thing out of his cage?" it was Faustus's head guard Alexander he withdrew his sword upon seeing a naked Livia in Quintus's arms.
"Alexander, this is not what it looks like" Livia began trying formulate an explanation but Quintus released her and began cocking his head watching Alexander.
"So the whores were not enough for you? You broke out and decided to have your way with the senator's wife? He shall not care how much money you are worth she is his most prized possession"
That was all it took for Quintus to snap and shoot his stinger into Alexander's neck until his sword dropped Livia's face turned ashen gray that is when she heard Faustus's voice her heart began pounding "This is my fault alright? You go out the door to the outside I will take responsibility" Quintus moved quickly to her seizing her arms trying to get her to focus.
"I...I.." Livia stuttered when Faustus's voice called out to her "Livia darling?" Quintus dressed her quickly but her dress was still askew he took her arms again "Go Livia" he whispered but she could not move "I do not wish to leave you, he will kill you. You can take one but you cannot take all he has"
"I will die for you to keep you safe" it was sacrifice he would be willing to make but she knew his destiny was far greater than just their love "No, I have an idea just go with it"
"What the hell is going on in here?" Faustus appeared in the doorway to see his most cherished guard dead on the floor, drained of his blood supply and his warrior gripping his wife who looked disheveled.
"Faustus, thank goodness you are here" Livia pulled away from Quintus quickly heading into her husband's arms "What did you do to my wife you savage?"
"No, Quintus saved me. I was just resting and Alexander came into my room he tried to...I am sorry I cannot say it is too painful but if Quintus had not come in time he would have brutalized me" she forced tears to pour forth. Faustus softened and held her close to him "I am here now my love. I shall not allow you to be harmed ever again. From now Quintus will be your private guard, I am moving him out of that cage and down the hall I want you kept safe at all times. This shall never happen again" Faustus said cupping her cheeks.
Quintus could not believe how stupid Faustus truly was but his arrogance was to account for most of it but once alone he corraborated Livia's story. "Now you shall still compete in the games but when you are not then you shall protect my beloved. Thank you Quintus as difficult as it is to believe that someone I held in such high regard would even dream of trying to rape my wife I am glad that he met with such an end" he placed his hands on both of Quintus's shoulders then nodded for one of Livia's female servants to take Quintus to his quarters.
"Thank you Alba"
"I know that Alexander did not try to rape Mrs. Sertorius" she spoke quietly. Quintus approached her getting as close as he could "And what makes you so certain of that?"
She though frightened looked up at him "Because Alexander did not have an appetite for women. I will not divulge what I know to be true but the senator can be a very cruel man if crossed. He may spare you but he shall not spare her, he will do the most wicked and unkind thing he can think of to her and make you witness it as torture. Be careful" she whispered her warning then quickly fled.
Quintus walked outside onto his balcony he saw that Livia's was open and he could hear what was going on inside the room. Faustus was inside trying to make love to her but he was not having any success "It is alright darling you are under a lot of stress..." he heard Livia trying to sooth him and his wounded ego. A few minutes later she walked out to look at the moon and at the city. They looked over at one another she reached her hand out to him he reached back but put they both heard Faustus coming outside. Livia greeted him but when she looked back she saw Quintus disappear into his room. She just shut her eyes as Faustus wrapped himself around her, she felt absolutely disgusted.
Chapter 22: Indulgence
It was in the earliest hours of the morning when Livia slipped out of bed and crept quietly down the hall to Quintus's room "Livia what are you doing in here?" she put her fingers to her lips to quiet him as she began disrobing.
He was going to force her out but seeing her bare breasts and his eyes trailing down to her swelling womanhood he simply couldn't refuse. Livia opened the sheer curtain draped around the bed and climbed on top then looked over her shoulder at him with a naughty smile and nodded for him to join her. Quintus followed she sat up on her knees and put her arms around him "I want something special my love" she whispered looking into his eyes. He could see the light had returned to them since they had began their affair.
"What is it you want?" he asked curiously. She pecked his lips then kissed her way to his ear biting at the lobe she brought her lips aside his ear "I want to feel your stinger. Please use it on me" she made her request.
He only had obliged using his stinger in a sexual way once by request of one of the prostitutes who did not mind being his meal but first she wanted him to penetrate her with it. Quintus didn't think Livia would be able to handle being filled by it "No" he declined.
"Why?" she questioned pulling away "I do not want to consume your blood it is not supposed to be a pleasurable experience"
"My blood should be sacred to you..."
"It is that is why I must not indulge in it. What will happen if I lose control? I will drain you and I cannot bear to lose you forever"
"I trust you Quintus, you will not let me die. Please I long for you to taste me with it. Come, just a taste" she laid down on the bed and spread her legs rubbing the inside of her thigh, the spot she wanted him to take from.
He crawled onto the bed and laid over her, he could see what Faustus had told him about her that she looked as if she were carved by the gods. Quintus wasn't too sure she was one of them in disguise as a human but she remained the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. "I love you Livia" he bent forward and kissed her lips while his palm cupped one of her breasts, squeezing it while his tongue penetrated her mouth.
She hummed a moan as they kissed she wiggled around under him burdened with desire "Please Quintus just a little taste. I want to feel it latching onto me. I want to give my life force to make you stronger. Take it" she whispered hotly pressing his shoulders down to get him in position. Seeing Livia act this way like an animal mad with lust knowing that he made her this way turned Quintus's cock to stone. He kissed his way down her body nipping at small areas of her peach skin she jerked and jolted with excitement "Yes!" she breathed. He scented her entire outer area of her pussy, taking in her musk and the smell of her arousal. When he kissed the small patch of hair on her mound she gasped snaking her hand down her body to his head pressing it further between her thighs. He kissed it again and again as she bucked her hips for it to make contact, he slid his tongue between the lips she wrapped her leg around his shoulder, resting it on his back he could hear her pulse throbbing in the spot she chose. Quintus smiled before he coaxed her clitoris from it's hood he was going to get to that in time but right now he wanted to bring her to the edge of madness.
Livia twisted her back as Quintus took her clitoris between his teeth gently then began sucking it "My love the things you do to me..." she cried out passionately reaching her hand to his shoulder. Quintus massaged his index finger in a straight line underneath her nub adding more sensations making her inch down the bed trying to get closer to him "Have your way with me!" she begged.
Inserting his index finger into her increasingly wet entrance he hooked his finger feeling along the upper wall until he found her sacred spot. Bending herself backwards until there was a perfect arch in her back she let out gasps and loud moans and kept her hand on the back of Quintus's head. It was as if she were his puppet and every touch, lick, bite and kiss made her move a certain way for him, he relished the control he had over her body to dance but only for him. She was on the edge and he could tell she was trembling, convulsing and her muscles all began to tense, her juices spilled out over the back of his hand and running down to his palm. Livia panted and lost breath at the same time "Quintus, please do it" she looked down at him with pleading eyes.
He eyed her as he finished her clit off the throbbing of the sweet vein beckoned him as it was inches from his ear he pulled back from her folds keeping his finger moving within her. His other hand laid her leg flat to the bed he tuned his hearing to her pulse then at just the right moment as she began to squirt her nectar he released his stinger into her inner thigh. Her mouth dropped open wider and she became breathless Livia fell back onto the bed. The small tear into her flesh burned but once it stuck it felt like a thorn of a rose bush, she didn't even feel him pull it out.
Livia laid there trying to stay conscious but quickly losing the battle "Quintus help me to my room" she mumbled her body jolting still from the surges of pleasure. Alba appeared in the doorway as Quintus was getting her robe back on her. She gave Quintus glares but helped her out of the bed and back to her room.
"I will take over from here, the senator requests a word with you. I shall tell him she is ill" she slammed the door on his face. He stared at the door and put his hand on it he wanted nothing more than to be inside the walls with his love but duty had called for him.
"Alba sent for me" he stood at the door Faustus nodded for him to enter then sent his staff away. Once the room was secured Faustus offered Quintus a seat to which declined "I have to take a medical leave and shall be gone for no more than a month. I do not wish to bother Livia with the concerns but it is to help with some problems I am having with conceiving a son"
"Are you venturing to find someone who practices the dark arts to help you?" Quintus knew Faustus had a well spring of dark knowledge and if he believed there was someone who could cure his impotency he would travel as far as it took to get to them.
"You must understand Quintus, Livia is ripe and ready to carry my seed but I alas have failed her on many nights. There is said to be a woman, a psychic of sorts who can perform some ritual on me to make me verile again. It is worth the long leave for when I return I shall give my wife the first of many sons to her womb. I want you to stay and look after her, I have enemies that have lodged threats against me I feel better knowing you are nearby. I am taking my guards with me and I shall not be gone for more than a month. Will you do this for me Quintus? Will keep my darling safe?"
Quintus in his gut felt there was something wrong or going to go wrong but he just nodded "I will not let harm come to her. You have my word."
Chapter 23: Blood Sacrifice
It had been three weeks into the month that Faustus had left Quintus and Livia, they were lying in her bed holding onto one another "I hope whatever sorcery this witch does to him does not work. I do not wish to bear his children" Livia said rubbing her hand around his chest. He stroked her hair, combing his fingers through her blonde locks "We have only a week left before he returns lets not talk about him. Let us just enjoy one another."
Livia sighed sitting up in the bed looking at him over her shoulder, "You are right my love but I have to confess something to you. After we were married and he told me that he was going to impregnate me I tried to take my own life because the thought of carrying his child, a son that would be just like him drove me insane. I could not cope with what I had done, I wanted to go back and have him put me to death. And when he comes back he will want to fill me with his seed I fear that I may..." Quintus sat up quickly and held her "Do not speak such things. You shall not end your life"
"I am trapped Quintus. No matter what I do I am shackled to him and he will never let me go. I do not want to mother his sons I wish I were barren" Livia sputtered while tears glistened in her blue eyes.
An idea had began coming to Quintus, there was a doctor who tended to the soldiers and the warriors he had taken to Quintus in a friendly way and his wife was a midwife that helped deliver the babies in Rome. He would wait until the morning to speak with the doctor and his wife to see if they could convince Faustus that Livia was barren so that he may seek out another woman to bear him sons. Quintus could set himself free if he truly wanted and they could be together again, it was a long shot but one worth trying.
"Quintus Sertorius to what do I owe the pleasure? Or would you prefer The Barbarian Gladiator?" the doctor greeted him warmly.
"Hello Augustus and calling me Quintus will be just fine. Do you remember the first time you met me?" Quintus shook his hand then entered into the room.
"How can I forget? You had just battled a lion that scarred your back but it was the strangest thing I had ever seen you were healing on your own and rapidly. I asked you 'What is your secret?' and you told me it was because you were a damphir. Why?"
"What if I were to give you something that could heal those soldiers and warriors even faster?" Quintus made him an offer.
"Well, I would say that you can have anything you would like" it was exactly what Quintus had hoped to hear.
"That is good because it just so happens I need something of you and your wife that must be kept secret but in exchange I will give you the blood from my veins and a decent amount of it. A few drops of my blood can heal wounds and bring a man near death back to life, it is how I have healed since birth. One of the only parts of myself I consider a gift"
"What is it we must do?" Augustus grew nervous as he knew there was going to be some deception involved and he would not wish for he and his wife to lose their lives but posessing a substance that healed could be most profitable for them enough to get them away from Rome.
"Senator Sertorius's wife does not wish to bear children and I am sure you have tried treatment for his condition which stymies his ability to impregnate her. You and Flavia are to examine her and rule that she is barren" Quintus knew it was risky to lay the plans openly but he put his faith in the doctor that he would not go behind his back.
"Quintus, you are asking us to lie to the senator. How would you know such a thing?"
"I am her personal guard and I have heard her speaking to her servant, Alba. She is most unhappy"
"Well, if she found to be barren he will do with her what he did with the three others that were barren. He said he had found them guilty of adultery and had them put to death"
Quintus would not allow it to come to that he would see to it she would freed even if they both had to fight their way out together "That matters not because I shall not let him do it. You will find him a fertile woman to take her place I am certain Flavia knows of many"
"Now I am finding a replacement? Quintus that will require..."
"I will give you more of my blood then"
Augustus studied Quintus's face "You are in love with the senator's wife are you not? I know that look and the way you are offering something so valuable..."
"Are you going to do this or not?" Quintus growled at him "How do I know that your blood will heal a human?"
He jerked Augustus's arm forward "What are you doing?" Quintus reached for the knife he had on the table next to them "Wait!" Augustus objected but Quintus dragged the blade down his skin "Agghh!" crimson pooled to the surface and began dripping to the floor.
Quintus then sliced his palm open until his own white blood gathered to the surface he had to move quickly before it healed. He took Augustus's arm back then slid his wounded palm up and down his arm as the white bled into Augustus's wound until it began to heal before his very eyes "There satisfied?"
Augustus stared down at it in amazement then looked up at Quintus "We will do it."
Chapter 24: A Snake in the Grass
When Quintus told Livia what he had worked out with Augustus she threw her arms around him "Thank you my love! I just have to hang in there until he finds himself another woman. Then we can be free, where do you want to go? What'd you want to do?" she chirped excitedly.
"Livia, I still have my destiny to fulfill we must fight him, we cannot allow the Master to advance his forces. I feel that he is drawing closer to the city. We share a connection because I am of his flesh but he keeps control over his own mind to protect himself. Only when his guard is down that I can see or hear what he is thinking or where he is. Do not forget what we are really supposed to be working towards. Your parents sacrificed their lives for this let it not be in vain." Quintus despised shattering her hopes and dreams but she was getting too lofty with the idea of romance and swept away by their passionate love making, he had to confess he was as well. He now understood the darker side of human nature with adultery and schemes but his focus was not going to be dragged away.
"You are right. As much as I do not wish to bear Faustus children I want to see the Master pay for what he did to us. When he is at his glorious end then I shall have peace with my parent's deaths. But it means losing you too, how will I go on?" she bombarded his arms and laid her head against his chest.
He enclosed his arms around her, "This was not a destiny of my choosing but it is one I must fulfill and I do it not only because I am the only one but I do it for you. I will be at peace knowing his scourge will be wiped clean from this world and you shall live long and I hope someday will bear children for someone you could come to love"
Tears trickled down her cheeks Livia could never love anyone the way she loved Quintus and if she had her way she would never bear a child or fall in love with anyone else, she wanted to live a solitary life after he had gone telling his story to world. Livia felt his hand come to her face and wipe her tears "We have but a day left, come, let me make love to you" he whispered pressing his lips against her forehead.
Desire rose up in Livia like a wall of flames, a phoenix taking flight; she didn't want to go to the bedroom she needed Quintus where they stood. She tore off his tunic then shoved him hungrily against the wall he was bewildered by her sudden aggression but intrigued. He tore her dress off in one shred then lifted her off the floor, her legs wrapping tightly around his waist he slammed her back against the wall "Take me!" she growled through gritted teeth. "I bring out the carnal animal in you, I must confess I enjoy it. You are no longer a girl, but a woman. My woman" he said making her smile. She guided her hand down between them to pull his cock into her when they were interrupted by someone clearing their throat.
Livia's expression dropped looking over Quintus's shoulder "Hello dear sister-in-law. My my what is all this?"
Quintus looked at the petite dark haired woman narrowing his eyes, he let Livia down she picked up what remained of her dress and covered herself shamefully. Livia heard Quintus's stinger rattling as he approached "Quintus! Do not do it this is Faustus's sister" she said to stop him. He did freeze in place but kept his eyes on her.
She stepped forward swaying her hips as she did "Hello Quintus, I am Cassia. You must be the gladiator my brother cannot shut up about. You are most unusual but from my view most beautifully crafted. I have never been this close to a strix before and I must confess I would like to be closer"
Livia felt her heart skip beats Cassia already was not fond of her and her strangely deep bond with Faustus could mean she would tell him everything for the sheer joy of seeing Livia pay. "What are you doing here Cassia?"
"Is that any way to talk to your beautiful and charismatic sister-in-law? Where is my brother?" Cassia looked briefly at Livia but quickly turned her eyes back to a naked Quintus as she asked for Faustus.
"He went on a journey for a month he is due back tomorrow" Livia's voice began cracking as she feared what would become of her once Faustus found out what she and Quintus were up to in his absence.
"Now tell me how you would handle this situation Livia if the sandal were on the other foot?" her arrogance matched that of her brother's but her spite made Quintus growl "Easy there big boy we will get to you in a minute. Answer the question Livia, what should I do?"
Tears erupted again "What do you want Cassia?"
Cassia smiled wickedly "Now that is more like it. See I knew it was a fortuitous time to visit my dear brother and sister-in-law. The fortune teller was right things are going in my favor" she clapped her hands together gleefully.
She ran her hand along Quintus's body stopping just above his cock when he seized her wrist "I would not try to harm me beast, for I can be the bitter end of dearest Livia. Is that what you want? Because if you kill me then my brother will have kinds of questions will he not Livia?" she threw towards her but all she could was cry, she was enclosed by another Sertorius and one that hated her.
Cassia jerked her hand away from Quintus then slinked her way to Livia, Quintus turned immediately watching. She outstretched her arm and pinned Livia to the wall "You are in luck Livia, I am in a good mood. I promise to keep your secret yet torrid affair with the beastly gladiator for a small price"
Livia could hardly bring herself to look into Cassia's dark brown eyes "What do you want?"
Cassia leaned in close bringing her lips to near Livia's but kissing her cheek then putting her lips to her ear to whisper, "I want privileges with your barbarian lover so long as I am staying in this house. You are to remain untouched by him as long as I am under this roof if you cross me I may extend my visit or just tell my brother and let him sort it out. What say you?"
"Never" Quintus spoke for her stepping forward Cassia sneered at him over her shoulder she grabbed Livia by her braid jerking her head back "I did not ask you beast! This is between my sister-in-law and I right?" she asked pulling harder making Livia cringe.
"Yes, you can have privileges!" Livia consented much to Quintus's disappointment. Cassia smiled releasing her "See everyone is happy when I get what I want. Now get dressed you filthy whore and I want Alba to run my bath and you shall be the one bathing me while Livia watches. Do not keep me waiting!" Cassia walked down the hall towards the bedrooms.
Quintus snatched his tunic from the floor and put it back on "How could you bargain me like cattle or a goat?"
"What would you have had me do? Just give her what she wants until she is gone then we can continue with our plan and get out of here" she whispered.
"And what if she decides to stay permanently? You should have let me drain her" he glared at her then marched off to do Cassia's bidding.
Livia broke down taking a deep breaths when she heard Cassia calling "Oh Livia! Hurry up I have come such a long way I need a relaxing bath, what is taking you so long to get in here?!?"
She sighed, "Coming you bitch" she muttered under her breath heading to join them. After getting dressed she found them in Quintus's quarters in the bathroom. He was scrubbing her skin while Alba washed her hair she stood against the wall sneering at Cassia "Enjoy it now because when once it is over I am going to make you suffer" Livia thought to herself with a smirk.
Chapter 25: Darkness To Come
"Yes! Ohhh mmmh you are such a good lover! Who would have thought that a half-strix would be able to fuck so divinely!" Cassia moaned wrapping her arms and legs around Quintus as he gave himself to her. Livia was forced to sit on the bed to watch and listen "Ohhh fuck! I can see why you prefer this manly beast he hits all the right spots! Deeper! Go deeper I say!" she ordered him. Livia's cheeks flushed red and she could feel Quintus's anger pulsating towards her.
He jerked Cassia roughly into a position to tilt her hips then shoved her knees to her shoulders as began fucking her with ferocity "Yes!!! Fuck me you barbarian! Fuck me until your emptied and covered in my sweet juices. Livia can clean you off with her tongue" she giggled flicking her tongue across her teeth.
Quintus felt like crushing Cassia but he had to remind himself that Livia's life hung in the balance, he was furious with her but he understood how powerless she felt. And he was not making matters better by giving her sharp looks and throwing attitude her way, for spite Quintus pulled out of Cassia seeming like he slipped out she raised herself up between her legs to see why she was not being satisfied when he fired his seed into her face "OH!" she exclaimed as it shot into her eye and across her cheek some even hitting her upper lip. Quintus smirked, Livia looked away snickering she knew Quintus had done it on purpose "How dare you?!? Livia! Get over here and clean me up" she ordered as Quintus let her legs go.
Livia went to get off the bed "Where the hell are you going?" Cassia hissed at her. "To get a washcloth"
"NO! Use your tongue" she waved her finger for Livia to come to her. Livia crawled across the bed and laid over Cassia. She started with her lip her tongue gathering Quintus's juice "Mmm" Cassia moaned as Livia moved up her cheek to get the small trail leading to her eye. Cassia kept her eye closed as Livia swiped the rest of it then went to pull back but Cassia jerked by her hair "There is a small bit on my nipple make sure every drop is cleaned off my beautiful body!"
How Quintus hated Cassia but he was feeling a strange surge of arousal watching Livia clean his essence off of her and when she took Cassia's nipple into her mouth his cock sprang back to life "Oh someone is ready for more. You can go now Livia I want to be alone with my lover" she shoved Livia away getting up and crawling to the end of the bed. Cassia was on her knees taking Quintus's cock into her hand and began licking the tip. He moaned slightly his eyes half closed as he ensnared his fingers into Cassia's dark locks and pressing her head forward. Livia couldn't take another second she rushed out of the room slamming the door behind her how could Quintus enjoy this? He was right she should have let him drain Cassia.
15 Days Ago...
Traveling for fifteen days without much rest and missing his wife made Faustus irritable but this trip was going to change everything for him and for her. The sorceress he sought was one of the greatest of her time, she was an old gypsy named Dalia and she was hard to track down. After treatments from the doctor proved to be ineffective Faustus began his search for psychics, witches and gypsies to cure him of his impotence.
She was not a hag by any means and Faustus had heard stories of how she remained youthful even in her elder age, by stealing souls of young prostitutes and wives of men who crossed her or spit upon her. "What is it you seek? You came all this way to have an audience with me so please tell me what is it you seek?" she spoke from inside the tent before he set foot into it.
Faustus presented himself but she did not show any sign of respect she just sat waiting for him to speak "I seek your gifts in a cure"
She smiled softly "Impotence. Alas I cannot help you..."
"What? I came from Rome that was a two week journey! I cannot return the same my wife shall be disappointed"
"No, she shall not. You are not impotent Senator Sertorius and your wife shall bear a son" she had a wicked gleam in her eye. Faustus looked at her strangely "What do you mean? I have been unable to give myself to my wife"
"Yet she will bear a son. He is destined for greatness"
"Is that all you see? Just one?" Faustus seemed disappointed "She shall die in his birth" she forewarned.
"Then I cannot give her my child I do not wish for her to die. I love her."
Dalia lowered her gaze "Pity because she is already with child"
"Please can it be changed? Can it turn out differently?"
Her smile returned "Perhaps but I am not the one should seek for this. There is someone better acquainted with such things than I"
"You mean a necromancer?"
"Something like that, he is an immortal and he has close ties to her son"
Faustus began to think she was referring to Quintus "My gladiator? He is a half-strix can he save my wife?"
"Perhaps but this is a much darker being. Your gladiator cannot imbue your wife with immortality but there is only one who can. If you wish I can get you a meeting, just say the words and he shall meet with you in the city"
"Yes, I desire to meet with him immediately upon my return. Will both mother and child live?"
"Forever" she promised he nodded with a sigh of relief. He gave her payment then left the tent she grinned evilly "Fool."
Chapter 26: Come What May
Dinner was tense when Faustus returned, between his wife and his sister. Cassia would take sips of her wine and smirk at Livia "So darling how was your trip?" Livia decided to ignore her and not give her the satisfaction. "Most interesting and fruitiful. I have sent for the doctor and his wife to come tomorrow."
Livia secretly smiled on the inside tomorrow Faustus's hopes of her giving him a child would be destroyed then it would be a matter of getting Cassia to leave and she would be in the clear to make her plans to leave with Quintus. She finished her wine then nodded for one of the servants to pour her more but Faustus held his hand over the glass to stop the pouring "No more for you my dear" the servant retracted while Faustus beamed with a smile.
"My glass is empty someone fill it" Cassia held her glass up cocking her head to the side and glaring at Livia. The servant began pouring when Cassia's arm jerked slightly making her miss the glass and it dropped on Cassia's dress "You stupid cow!" she stood and slapped the servant to the floor "Look what you did! Faustus you have clumsy servants! I want a new dress laid on my bed" she began kicking the woman as she was getting up.
"Cassia do calm down, you always have had such a terrible temper" Faustus laughed she cut her eyes at him then at Livia who sat expressionless. Quintus came into the dining room interrupting breaking Cassia's focus "This arrived, it was found lying in front of the entrance. Alba brought it to me, is it from an enemy do you think?" he presented Faustus with a black feather with a scroll tied to it.
"No, give that to me" Faustus got up from the table and took it from Quintus's hands. He untied the scroll and read it to himself, it was instructions from the psychic Dalia as to where to meet the mysterious being that was going to help Livia survive childbirth. He looked back at her "Darling what is it?" she asked with doe eyed innocence.
"Nothing awful my dear just some business I have to take care of tonight"
Quintus was trying to ignore Cassia's intense eye contact and inappropriate gestures with her tongue "I shall go with you it could be dangerous" he offered his assistance.
"No, I am very capable besides I need you here protecting these two lovely beauties" Faustus patted his shoulder then returned to the table. Quintus began feeling strange and as he went to walk out of the room he tilted against the doorframe "Quintus?" Livia asked rising from her seat her concern causing Faustus to look at her and Cassia to sneer at her. Faustus could see the look in her eyes was genuine concern for him it baffled him.
Quintus felt a shiver go up his spine as he saw flashes in his mind but they were not memories of his own. "The Master" he whispered to himself "Quintus are you alright?" Livia went to go to him but Faustus grabbed for her hand she jerked away and went to him. Cassia beelined for Quintus brushing Livia back "Here I'll help you to your room" she took his arm glaring at Livia.
Livia went back to the table and took her seat "You have grown fond of my gladiator have you?" Faustus said brusquely.
She was still thinking about Quintus she heard him say the Master's name "What?" she came back mentally to join her husband.
"I said you have grown fond of my gladiator"
"He may be only half human but he still has a soul Faustus"
"He is a beast with a man's body I highly doubt he has a soul" Faustus laughed taking a sip of his wine.
Livia glared at him "Quintus has feelings - he laughs, cries and has longings just like you and I"
"Do not get so defensive dear we are only having a theological conversation. Besides even evil can fake emotions. Finish your dinner darling you need your rest. I have to go I will try not to wake you when I crawl in bed" he leaned over to kiss her cheek but she cringed and tightened herself, he assumed she was just angry that she lost the argument "Very well" he stroked her cheek with the back of his hand then excused himself from the table.
Once Quintus was sure Cassia had passed out he lifted her up and took her to her bed. When he was leaving the room he met Livia in the hall things were very strained between the two of them "Another glorious evening?" she said bitterly.
"I cannot help that I have desires and my body responds to such. She shall never have my heart that belongs to you"
Livia began to suffer guilt as he brushed past her "Quintus, I am sorry. It just seems like every time I think we are safe and in the clear something happens to tear us apart. It is as if the gods are cursing at us"
He turned back to her "I know it has been torture for me as well. But I do not feel you are safe here any longer or any of you are"
"Is this about what happened to you at dinner? You said his name"
"Yes, it was more than that he is on his way here. I am afraid the psychic your husband sought out has led him here. I have heard stories of the woman he followed she is a dark sorceress who revels in the darkest arts."
"How would she make such a pact with the Master? She does not have anything he wants"
"No, but he has something she wants and desires. She like many others desires to be in his legion to be closest to his source of power. I fear Faustus is meeting with him tonight unknowingly most likely. I must track him but I fear it is another trap to lure me out so the Master can come here to you."
"What if we both go find him? That way you can do both at the same time keep me safe and figure out where Faustus has gone to"
Quintus placed his hands on her shoulder "I do not want you near the Master ever again. In the cave is the closest I will ever let you be to him again"
"Then you are staying here if Faustus meets with the unfortunate fate of the Master draining him then so be it. It is a sacrifice I can live with then at least we can deal with what comes after."
Chapter 27: Love Makes Such Fools
Faustus arrived just outside of Rome he stepped outside of his carriage "Where is he?" he was scanning the surrounding area unsure of who he was searching for. A gust of wind whirred nearby and around he and his guards. Faustus's eyes doubled as who he waiting for appeared, he was cloaked "You seek me?" his voice strange and dark.
Faustus could barely see his face but he could hear a rattling emerging from him it was similar to the one he heard from Quintus "Dalia says that you can help me. She predicted that my wife is with child and that she shall die in his birth. Do you possess the power of immortality? If you do then I shall give you anything you want"
"You already have" was all he said "What? I do not understand. Are you going to help me?" Faustus grew desperate nearly going to his knees when he approached and removed his hood. Faustus then could see that he looked similar to Quintus "I shall take care of your wife do not worry"
"Tomorrow after sunset"
"She will live forever? You assure me of that and that no harm shall come to the baby?"
He grinned, "Oh yes I give you my word she shall live forever and so shall the boy."
Livia and Quintus were both waiting up for Faustus when he returned he entered into the main hall to see them standing intimately close to one another. She then turned her head to him "Darling there you are" she came to him and put her arms around him.
Faustus eyed Quintus behind her back it was the smallest of things he began to notice since dinner. Quintus looked saddened that he had returned and had his arms around Livia and then at dinner the way she was defending him. He had known Livia to be a caring and nurturing woman but there was something amiss about the two of them "Darling why are you still awake?"
"We were concerned with this late night business of yours but I am glad you are home, safe" she pulled away as if she had waited for the right moment to let him go.
"Go to bed, you have quite a day ahead of you tomorrow. I desire a word with Quintus" he became austere with her she obeyed his command and walked away.
"I do not know what is going on in my own home but I sense treachery..."
"As do I" Quintus interjected.
"Know your place! Do not interrupt me! We had a dog when I was boy, he was a stray and my mother felt pity for him because he was starving. My father was wary of him but indulged my mother's need to nurture, we brought him into our home. We fed him, bathed him and he slept nearby me, we loved him and we assumed he loved us. Until one day at dinner just out of the blue I was feeding him under the table and he bit me! My father had to send for the doctor to act quickly so I would not lose my hand, he had the dog bludgeoned to death but as it turns out that dog was in reality a wolf cub separated from it's pack. What we had thought was a cute and cuddly puppy turned out to be a monstrous beast waiting to turn it's back on us. Is that what you are Quintus? A traitorous beast who has bitten the hand that has fed him?"
Quintus was speechless at first "I am not sure what you are talking about"
"I was blind to it before but after what happened at dinner and seeing the two of you just now at the door I am beginning to question everything especially about Alexander and what you were really doing in my wife's quarters. I have heard the stories of you and the prostitutes they brought you, I know you have desires as a man does. Sexual desire is like a monkey on a man's back is it not? It is a burden that demands to be satisfied and being men or appearing as a man it can drive us to do stupid and foolish things"
"Yes, I agree. What dark thing has your desires led you to do?" Quintus countered.
"This is not about me! This is about you, what have you done with my wife? If you confess I may only give you a beating and send you back to that dingy cell and you will only be my gladiator"
Quintus's lip curled into a snarl "Of course with you it is all about your money. If I am guilty of what you believe I am guilty of then that is punishable by death but you would not want that because of the profits you would lose and you would lose her because she too would have to be reckoned"
Faustus had his suspicions confirmed but Quintus went on further "Yes, I have enjoyed your wife senator but to be fair she was mine long before she was yours. I had her first and while you have barely shared her body you never had her heart and never will. So now that my deception is on the table do share yours. He is coming here because you sought him out did you not?"
"What are you talking about?"
"I can feel him and I can feel that you have been in his presence. What is it you want from him? It will come at a steeper price than you can pay believe me!"
"GUARDS!" Faustus yelled out for them as Quintus began coming closer it didn't take long they had both he and Faustus surrounded "Take him back to his cell, tomorrow he will be punished!"
Quintus growled but didn't try to fight he was going to stay as close as he could to Livia "What is it you want from him? He will not give you something without taking something away"
"Then perhaps I should allow him to take you when he comes!"
"Yes, I sincerely hope you do because I shall end him!" Quintus tried to jerk away from the guards but they grouped together to shove and hold him.
Livia and Cassia appeared "What is going on?" Livia ran to Faustus he slapped her across her face making Cassia grin with delight "You had better be glad he is making me a fortune because if it were not so, I would have him put to death for putting his hands on you"
She raised her head then spit in Faustus's face he slapped her again this time to the floor "You get as spirited as you wish my dear but you and your demon lover are through. I am having him moved to another location to house him so you shall never see him again. You are going to bear many sons for me"
She looked up at him with a smirk "So you believe. I hope my womb is rotten and sour! I hope it can never give you anything! You may force me to the bed and force yourself inside me but he will be always be the one in my thoughts! You cannot change that Faustus! Your money cannot buy that!" Livia began laughing.
"And you!" she charged at Cassia. They tumbled around on the floor with Cassia gaining ground she straddled Livia and began slapping and clawing at her "CASSIA! ENOUGH!" Faustus jerked his sister off of her "How can you still love this whore! She was immoral with a beast!"
Livia laid on the floor laughing, "Cassia you will spend the rest of your life hoping your brother will have some illcit desire for you and you have lain with that beast as well. But Faustus is the one thing you cannot have. We are all sick!"
Her laughter quickly turned to tears.
Chapter 28: Piecing It Together
Livia laid in her bed with tear stained eyes she could not sleep a wink at all the night before. Alba entered her room with Faustus behind her, he stood by her bed observing her sullen and depressed nature "I know that you may 'love' him but you must be aware that he has no soul and as such is incapable of loving you. He lusted for you and led you astray..."
"NO! Quintus loves me! He has always loved me long before I stumbled into that den of sin where you harassed me into becoming your wife! You forced yourself on me Faustus perhaps that is the only way any woman would EVER want you!" she sat up on her knees putting her finger in his face he slapped her back to the bed. Alba rushed to her side "No! Do not coddle her! Take your leave Alba I want to be alone with my wife!" he ordered sharply.
Once Alba left the room he went to pin Livia to the bed she got up and tried to flee but he secured his arms around her waist then jerked to his body tightly. "The only escape is death my darling. That is the only true way I will ever part with you and if you should happen to get any ideas of taking your own life I will keep you under heavy surveillance all the time!" he whispered in her ear.
"You think he is a demon but you are the one who is truly evil!" she hissed still trying to pull away from his grip.
There was a knock at the door "NOT NOW!" Faustus shouted "Sir, the doctor and his wife has just arrived"
He squeezed his arms around Livia once more brushing his lips aside her cheek then nuzzled his nose into her neck "After tonight you are going to be mine forever" he rubbed his hand down her stomach to the area of her womb. He gave her a few kisses then turned her loose as the doctor knocked then entered the room.
Augustus picked up on some tension but didn't speak of it he exchanged glances with Livia who looked at him desperately. His wife Flavia entered in behind him "Senator" she bowed at the neck to greet him "I am so joyous that you both are here" he kept his facade while Livia could not look anywhere but the walls.
"We shall need the room privately to examine her" Augustus informed him to which he was hesitant then cast his gaze to Livia but then consented "Alright that is fine. I will wait in my study"
Livia was asked to get on the bed with her knees bent and opened she had never had such an examination before "Where is Quintus?" Augustus stayed above near Livia's head while Flavia checked Livia.
"It is a long and terrible story. I just want to get this over with so I can smash his hopes into dust. I want you to find him a woman so tempting he will not be able to resist her" Livia whispered through clenched jaws.
Flavia had only been examining her for a few minutes when she withdrew her hands then shot Augustus a grim look "What is it dear?" his alarming tone set off Livia she rose up resting on her elbows "What is wrong?"
"You are already pregnant, I'm sorry" Flavia apologized washing her hands. "What? No, I cannot be! Please you must be mistaken check again" Livia begged.
"My wife is seldom wrong about these things we are both very sorry but I cannot declare you barren but I will also not be able to take a drop of Quintus's blood"
Livia began bawling "Please is there anything you can do to make me lose it?" Flavia came to her side and helped her lay back "Shh you must not speak of such things. I know this feels like a curse but in time you shall come to love your child. You will see beauty in their eyes and will wonder how you ever lived without them" she wiped Livia's eyes and kissed her forehead.
Alba came to be with Livia as Flavia and Augustus reported back to Faustus "Would you like me to bring you some fresh fruit?"
"No, I am not hungry. What I want I can no longer have. Alba I need something of you"
Alba sighed, "Please do not make me go down there to him if I am caught..."
"Please this is of the utmost importance. I need you to deliver the message to Quintus that I am with child" she whispered clutching Alba's hands "Please Alba, I would go myself but he is keeping a tighter noose around my neck."
She shook her head but nodded "Thank you. Please tell him I love him and when I find a way I will get him out of there."
Alba cloaked herself to exit the house she had to hide from the guards as she made her way down to Quintus. He stood staring out the window when her scent lit him up "Alba?" he walked to the cell door.
"How did you know?" she came to the bars "You smell like white oleander and peaches I would know your scent anywhere. What news have you brought?" he knew Livia would find a way to send communication to him.
"The doctor and his wife have come but it is not good news, she is with child they cannot go through with your agreement"
He turned away with sadness "No! She did not want this she must be devastated"
"She sends her love and she says to tell you that she will find a way to free you" she delivered the rest of the message, they heard guards coming down the adjoining corridor "Quick you must flee they are coming to take me for my beating. Be careful Alba there is danger coming tonight I need you to be watchful over Livia and if anything happens I need you to come for me. Do you understand?"
She nodded but the echo of their voices was drawing closer she threw the hood over her head and began running back.
They contained Quintus's head in a similar mask he had worn when he was in the freak show to contain his stinger as they tied his arms and legs then pelted him with stones, beat him with different instruments and objects and took stabs at him. When it was over they brought him to his cell and threw him to the floor. He laid there face down in the dirt, the physical pain was nothing compared to the emotional as he longed to be with Livia and comfort her. Faustus was going to pay and if the Master would not claim his life then Quintus most certainly would.
It was then Quintus began pulling the pieces together but some was still speculative, the Master was coming at Faustus's request but Quintus highly doubted it was to make him his new gladiator, the Master was a slave to none. He let out a frustrated growl there were too many scenarios, Quintus decided to give up on thinking about it but something kept nagging him; that if Faustus sought the psychic out to help with his impotency but Livia was already with child. He sat up and slowly let the thoughts come to him; Dalia must have told Faustus she was already pregnant but that didn't account for how the Master configured into the puzzle until Quintus realized Dalia was gifted enough to have knowledge of Livia being a person of interest to the Master, he knew there was a ruse Dalia and the Master were using on Faustus otherwise he would not bring himself to harm his wife and child intentionally.
Frustration crept back into Quintus "Damn you what does he want with you?" he said aloud to himself hoping the Master heard him. It was a brief a flash but Quintus felt the Master's presence stretch out to him there was not sight but the sound of a heartbeat then a baby crying. It lasted but seconds then lifted like a dense fog "Livia's baby?" had the Master taken an interest in her unborn child? The stricture in the law prohibited him from stinging her but Quintus knew that he did not see the laws applying to him, but also because he existed. "What could you possibly want with her child?" it was then it dawned on Quintus if the baby had belonged to Faustus the Master may not have given it a second thought but if the child belonged to him then he would jump at the chance to change the child while they were still developing "Bastard!" he jumped up from the floor.
"GUARDS! GUARDS!" Quintus shouted for them the two on duty begrudgingly came to his call "What is it?"
"Please I must speak with the senator he is making a terrible mistake, the psychic he trusted is leading him into treachery please you must go get him!"
They just shook their heads and walked away "His wife is in danger! You must warn him!" but they just shut the door at the end of the hallway leaving Quintus alone to yell but not to be heard.
Chapter 29: Payment
Livia refused to leave her bed for dinner Alba brought her a tray "Go away I am not eating" she cried turning to her side and curling up in a fetal position. Faustus entered the room moments later "What is this I hear that you are refusing to eat? You need to nourish our son"
Hearing him mention the baby that was growing inside her made her sob louder "I do not want your child!" she wailed. "Well, like it or not you are having him! Now you sit your ass up and you eat! Or by the gods I will force you!"
"Go ahead you have forced me to do everything else as you have wished it. I want to be free Faustus, I want to be free with Quintus - please let us go!" she begged crying hysterically.
They heard a whirring of wind in the halls Faustus turned to the door as there was a dark presence in front of it. Livia ceased crying she looked at the door then at Faustus "What have you invited into this house?"
"He is here. The time has come" he stood in amazement as the door handle turned then the door opened. Livia's eyes widened in horror "What have you done Faustus?"
"Master you have come, thank you" he bowed to him but the Master ignored him he was focused on Livia "The imp of the huntress at last we meet and you are bearing gifts"
Faustus was suddenly confounded "Master you are here to give her immortality are you not?"
"Faustus you are giving me to him?"
"No! You said you would help keep her alive now do as you have promised!" Faustus shouted at him the Master growled and slapped him across the room. Cassia hearing the commotion ran down to Livia's room "What is going...on?" she froze upon seeing the Master.
"I have heard so many stories about you and your greatness. And here you are gracing us with your presence. I offer myself to you my Master endow me with your gifts" Cassia opened her arms to welcome him.
Cassia's breath was taken as the Master lunged his stinger into her throat and he drained the life from her. Livia shut her eyes tightly looking away but she had to use the window of time wisely she went to run when Faustus grabbed her "Where are you going?"
"To get Quintus! He can destroy him!"
"NO! I will not let you go"
"Faustus your obsession with me is blinding you! Can you not see what he is doing to your sister? Your own flesh and blood!" she tried in vain to get free.
Once Cassia hit the floor he turned his attention to Livia "You indulged Invictus with your love and you created my grandson from that love. And now I give my gift of immortality to you both"
"What? The baby is not mine?" Faustus lightened his grip but the Master jerked her arm forward scraping his nail deep beneath the length of the underside of her arm then drawing his hand back he brought forth a long white worm dropping it into her wound "NOOOOO!" she screamed as he used his white to heal the wound quickly.
Faustus released her leaning sullenly against the wall "You tricked me"
"Perhaps you tricked yourself. I am taking your wife but I will leave your sister Invictus will come for her. He has to"
Livia staggered around the room she could feel the worm crawling through her "No! Quintus..." she cried when the Master collected her up and with a gust was gone with her. Faustus slid down the wall with tears in his eyes staring at Cassia's life less body "What have I done?"
Alba came rushing down to Quintus's cell "He is here! He came!" she blurted out frantically she searched around for the key but it was not on the hook.
"The Master came?"
"Yes! I ran as soon as I heard her screaming I do not know what is happening up there. Where is the key??"
"I have it. What are you doing down here?" the night guard appeared. "You have to let him out he is the only one who can save the senator and his family!" Alba pleaded with him.
"Did Mrs. Sertorius send you? All is well in the house I was up there no more than an hour ago..."
"She is telling you the truth! The senator has been duped and tricked by a being much worse than I. Let me out I am the only one who can save them all. Provided it is not too late!" Quintus snapped.
"No way in hell I am letting you out of there so get comfortable"
Alba couldn't take it anymore she reached forward and pulled the guard's sword free "LET HIM OUT NOW! I will stab you and steal the keys if you do not!" she threatened. Quintus could tell by the way she was uneasy holding the sword she would not be able to cause injury but if she would move him forward he would have a clear shot to sting him.
"Give me that!" the inching of their feet began Quintus stood ready to take his shot and as soon as the guard had Alba back into the corner trying to wrestle the sword from her Quintus made his move. Alba used the moment to jerk the keys away from him she juggled the keys and the sword as Quintus let him drop. When the door swung open Quintus took the sword from Alba's shaking hand "You are to leave here and flee as far away as you can get. Do not return here" he warned her as he sped away to the rescue.
Quintus rushed into Livia's bedroom to see Cassia on the floor and Faustus cowering against the wall "My love" he stammered. There was no Livia to be found "Now do you see what evil your greed and your desire has wrought? He came and you thought he would give and I am most certain he did but I see he has taken. Did I not warn you the price was steeper than you could afford? I should kill you but I will not I want you to suffer with living with everything you have done. I want his face to fill your nightmares and her screams to be the first and last thing you hear when you lay your head down and before you open your eyes. You are going to rot Faustus from the inside out and you will die alone with a guilt stained soul that will be tainted with your lust and your greed. Enjoy your suffering" he gripped the sword tightly then turned to Cassia to see the marks on her neck. He made Faustus jump as he severed her head he wept harder "I did not know..."
"You cannot claim ignorance, you knew he was evil and you still allowed him here and made your bargain with him."
"Please you can save her and bring her back" he crawled across the floor to Quintus's feet and looked up at him pitifully.
"I am afraid there is no saving her now and there is no bringing her back. The Master has infected her and the child that lives within. I have to find her before she can give birth - the only way to stop this now is to kill her"
"No! Please maybe she will return on her own. I have heard stories of the strix and those that they love"
Quintus smirked "You are forgetting one crucial fact Faustus and that is she never loved you. She loved me and I will be the one she comes for if she comes at all but I am going to find her first before the Master can set her lose. Enjoy all your spoils Faustus you have money and power but no one to share it with. Fitting if you ask me."
Chapter 30: The Release
It had been a little over ten months before Quintus was able to find the whereabouts of the Master and he knew Livia had most likely given birth. Her scent had changed and he knew he was not going to be prepared to see her because she was no longer the apple cheeked blonde with eyes of the ocean but she was now a sentient slave to his father.
The trail had gone cold five months after Rome but his telepathic link to the Master began to pick up again. He revealed to him the different locations he had taken Livia, Quintus saw her suffering as she transformed and while there was still a small strand of her soul inside he knew it was not strong enough to fight the Master. He stood at the very camp site they had first made love, Quintus stood just at the edge of the woods where Livia first touched him. No doubt this was the Master's idea of fun making Quintus suffer reliving their memories with each location.
There was a tent and a fire built in front of it he still had the sword he took from Alba with him but he needed a few minutes to will himself to go through with it. Tears streamed down his face "She is not the woman you once loved. Do not waiver, she may still be in there but you must release her; no matter what" he said to himself with his back turned.
He knew he would never have her again but he was going to be dammed if the Master was going to keep her, although he knew his father never truly wanted her as she was; Livia was merely a tool and a means to the end of torturing Quintus. Standing just outside the tent he heard soft humming of a lullaby.
Quintus gripped the sword tighter in his hand as he entered the tent, Livia was there with her back turned to him kneeling over a cradle. She had fully turned her hair thinned and had turned black and her skin had discolored nearly matching his own. "You found us. Looks like you win" when she spoke he could hear the Master speaking along with her.
"Put your sword away and come see your son, he is beautiful Quintus. Just like you and he is special" she turned to look at him her blue eyes were now black.
"You are not going to hurt me Quintus. Put it down, you are seeing this all wrong. We can be a family I know that is what you want. Come here my love" she stood opening her arms to receive him but just stood before her his eyes filling with tears again.
"I never meant for any of this to happen to you and I want nothing more than for you to be still inside there but I know you are not alone. He is controlling you at all times - even if he gave you free will. I know he keeps the leash tightly around your neck that is not living"
She put her arms down "That is true he is always with me but there are times when he pulls back his control and I am me. I miss you so much Quintus and we can be together forever, I will no longer have to worry about growing old or getting ill. I am an immortal now. I am just like you"
Quintus narrowed his eyes "We are not the same. I was born of his flesh you were infected"
Livia smiled "You have not even asked about your son"
"Why should I? If he is even here I do not believe the Master would allow me to get so close to him. I am certain the Master has big plans for him to be my end but no matter I will destroy him as I will you" Quintus readied himself.
Livia reacted by shrieking loudly "You shall NEVER harm my child!" she approached him like a vicious animal "You did not even want a child" he spat at her trying to test her tether to the Master versus their son.
"I do want him and I did from the moment I found out he was yours but that moment was short lived as I was trying to fight my way free from Faustus. I will die to protect him"
Quintus could feel Livia fighting for control of her own self he had to act quickly "Where is he?" he asked knowing the cradle was empty and that she had hidden him from even the Master.
"The place I talked to my father. Now do it before he gains control again and finds out. Please Quintus take care of him. Raise him to be strong to be a warrior but most of all love him. Love him Quintus" she closed her eyes and tilted her head back awaiting the blade.
Quintus screamed out his frustration as he tore the sword through her neck and her head flew across the floor of the tent. He set fire to the entire tent to properly dispose of the worms his heart ached as the only love he had ever known was gone from his world. Quintus almost forgot what he was supposed to be going after but quickly raced to the tree he looked all around the base but there was nothing. He began to wonder if the Master did not trick him but he felt Livia's presence strongly he was about to leave when he heard a small shrill cry coming from the branch where Livia once sat.
He climbed up the tree to see nestled closely was a bundled up blanket Quintus took it with both hands and came down. Another cry and Quintus removed the blanket from his face and the baby's eyes opened they were identical to his own. From head to toe the baby was a perfect match for Quintus. He stood with the baby in his hands just staring him over "I do not know what I am to really do with you. But I will do what your mother has asked of me. But we need something to call you - I shall call you Maximus, for you are destined to be great."