Howl of the Carrion King – Chapter Forty-one

Chapter Forty-one
A Broken Heart

Bree smiled. They had decided the time had come to return to the monastery. The surrounding environs were free of threats, and the time had come to strike out at Kelmarane. Their employer deserved to know their progress. Their comrades deserved to know the fate of Nes and Fudin. Kelestair wished to find his friend, Oxvard. And Bree couldn’t wait to find Trevvis and –

Well… She was excited to say the least. And now they were here! Bree led the way over the last ridge and eyed the monastery with pride. Together they had made this a safe place. A haven amidst the dangers of the desert.

Standing watch on the monastery’s perimeter was Dashki. He raised his hand when he saw them. It was more a gruff acknowledgement than a greeting. Still, the sight of him – of life – at the place she helped rebuild made her smile.

“That’s Dashki,” she heard Santon saying over her shoulder. “He’s a tracker and an expert on gnolls and their ways.”

Bree raced down the ridge towards the monastery. She was surprisingly happy to be back.

“How useful,” Kelestair replied. “I shall talk with this man. Perhaps we will have knowledge to impart upon each other.”

Bree nodded at Dashki as she neared him. He eyed them curiously.

“Where are the others? Nes and Fudin?”

The smile slipped from her face.

“I’ll handle it,” Santon called.

Dashki grimaced, but nodded, allowing her to pass.

Bree walked briskly through the halls, looking for Trevvis. She found him in the cloister walk with Brotis and Kallien. He was leaning against one of the carved walls with his back to her. He talked and laughed with the women. Bree’s heart fluttered. She had missed him.

Brotis caught her eye and smiled. She threw her arms around Trevvis and kissed him deeply on the lips.

Bree froze. She dropped her bag on the floor with a loud thump.

She couldn’t believe it. How could he? And with her? Tears welled up in her eyes and threatened to fall. She blinked, holding them in. She would not cry. Not in front of her. She wouldn’t give her the satisfaction.

Brotis let go of Trevvis, made a show of noticing Bree, and then formed her mouth into a perfect little ‘o.’ Her eyes twinkled in triumph.

Trevvis turned and spotted Bree. His face was a mix of shock and anger.

Bree forced herself to pick up her bag, and then walked away from them, around the cloister walk in the other direction.

Behind her Trevvis sputtered. “Star flower! Wait! It’s not what it looks like.”

Bree ignored him and stalked into the room they shared. She threw her bag into the corner, picked up Trevvis’ gear and began tossing it out into the hallway.

“Wait, Star Flower!” Trevvis said.

Bree picked up his extra boots and hurled them at him.

Trevvis ducked beneath one and took the other to the face.

Bree smiled cruelly and kicked the rest of his clothes out into the hall.

Trevvis recovered himself, ignored his things and walked right up to Bree. “Star flower, I – “

Bree scowled. “Don’t!”

“But, I – “

“I said don’t!”

“No! Star flower I – “

“I don’t want to talk to you! I don’t care what excuse you’ve come up with! Get out!”

Trevvis frowned and stepped forward. He reached out for her, trying to grab her by the shoulder.

Bree punched him squarely in the jaw.

Trevvis’ head swiveled back. Blood trickled from his lip.

Bree cringed. She hadn’t meant to… He had just…

Trevvis looked at her with fury. He grabbed her by the wrist, pulled her close to him and held her tightly by the shoulders.

She struggled against him, but her heart wasn’t in it. She hadn’t meant to hit him. She hadn’t meant to hurt him. She cared for him.

Trevvis looked her in the eyes and squeezed her arms. “Stop it, Star flower!” he spat. “You’re being a child!”

Bree’s shoulders felt as if they were bruising under Trevvis’ hands. She shuddered as she looked up at him. He was so angry. So hurt.

He tightened his grip.

Bree grimaced.

Wait a minute! She had just caught him kissing another woman and he had the nerve to call her a child? As if she were immature? Over-reacting?! Naive!

Bree glared back at Trevvis defiantly. “Let go of me.”

Trevvis tightened his grip and shook his head. “No! Not until you listen! I don’t want that whore! I want you!”

“The you should have kept your lips to yourself!”

“It wasn’t me! She was – “

“Let go of me, Trevvis. I don’t care about your excuses.”

Trevvis glared down at her and Bree glared right back. The silence hung heavily around them.

“Now,” she said sternly.

Trevvis’ eyes never left hers. Never faltered. He lunged down at her and pressed his lips roughly against hers.

She wanted him so badly. His kiss. His touch. She wanted nothing more than to kiss him back. To throw him onto the floor and tear his clothes off. He was so fierce. So passionate.

But, no. Bree couldn’t do that. She wouldn’t do that. Not anymore.

Bree bit him hard in the lip. Trevvis pulled back in shock. Bree head-butted him, causing everything to spin slightly. His grip loosened on her shoulders. He let go.

“That’s what you should have done,” she said growled. “Anything less is betrayal.”

She didn’t mean it. She wanted him to get up from the floor with tears of remorse dribbling down his cheeks. She wanted him to apologize. To kiss her again. To say he cared.

He didn’t. Instead, he stood up and glared at her. “You’re mine, Star Flower. We’re meant to be together.”

Bree shook her head. “Get out.”

He shook his head. “You don’t mean that.”

“Don’t I?” she stated with a raised eyebrow. She didn’t.

Trevvis looked as if he would try to touch her again, but a deep, gravelly voice caused him to pause.

“I think the lady asked you to leave.” Kelestair had come.

Trevvis’ gaze hardened, but he backed down. This was no longer between the two of them.

“I’ll be waiting for you, Star Flower. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, you come find me. I’ll take you back.” Then he turned, and walked away.

Bree let her facade crumble. Her hands trembled. Her body began to shake. Her face twisted into a look of utter remorse. She sobbed and tears poured down her cheeks.

What had she done? She had cared for Trevvis. She should have taken him back. She should have apologized for hitting him. For biting him. For causing him pain. It was all Brotis’ fault, not Trevvis’.

A hand gently fell upon her shoulder.

“I…” Kelestair started awkwardly, before stopping. “Do you want…” Kelestair paused again. “I will get Santon,” he eventually finished. And then he was gone.

Bree was alone with her guilt. With her pain. Her regret.

Santon and Kelestair returned a few moments later.

“Oh, Bree.” Santon said softly. He placed his hand upon her shoulder. “Don’t cry over him. The dog isn’t worth the effort.”

Bree shook her head between heaves. Snot and tears covered her face. How ugly she must look. How immature. Trevvis was right. She was being a child.

“No,” she managed to gasp between her sobs. “It was my fault. I should have blamed Brotis, not – “

Kelestair scoffed. “The blame is shared by both parties. The outcome obvious. If he was not prepared for the repercussions of his actions then he is as ignorant as he is foul-tempered.”

Bree shook her head, but Santon nodded. “Kelestair’s right, Bree. Trevvis doesn’t deserve you. He’s a fool.”

Bree shook her head. She closed her eyes and cried. They didn’t understand. Trevvis was… her first. She had cared for him. She had loved him. Or at least she thought she had… And now she had wrecked it. He would never forgive her. She had lost him. How could she have been so stupid?

Sorrow overtook her. She cried until no more tears would come, and then kept crying. She heaved, her body wracked with sobs.

Santon stayed with her all through the night. He slept in the doorway.

Kelestair left only once to ensure his friend Oxvard was safe. He did not sleep at all.

Bree could feel Trevvis’ eyes upon her through the night but he never came to speak to her. He just watched. Lingered. He was always just out of sight.

His presence was a dagger in her broken heart.

His silence, a twist of the blade.

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