Of Ash & Blood

Our First Night

r, thinking back again to those days when I would spend summers with her family. After becoming a knight, and seeing the fear in her eyes when I returned from my first campaign, I honestly thought it would be best to keep my distance. She wasn ever meant to end up with someone as harsh or hard as myself, but Ill admit that when her father offered, I couldn refuse. Perhaps that was selfish of me, maybe someone else was better suited and would have came along. Still, her father was insistent that this was for the best.

”I didn ever forget, I was simply….busy. ” I trailed off, unsure of what else to say.

I watched as she nodded slowly, looking over my shoulder to the wine I had set on the mantle. ”You brought wine? ” She asked, changing the subject.

I looked over my shoulder to the wine I brought up, picking it up with a glass. ”Yes, I thought you may want to try it. Aelis is famous for the wine we sell, you know. ”

”Yes, yes…one of the many things I remember your father talking about on visits. He once brought a few bottles, if I remember correctly. I was too young to try it, but Ill admit I stole a sip or two behind his back. I remember it being too bitter. ” She laughed lightly as she took the glass from my hands.

A light knock on the door followed and I opened the door, Anna walking in with trays of food balanced in her hands. She set it on the small table and I gave her thanks as she left the room. Stuffed pheasant and thick stew with breads filled the air with their delicious scents and I handed Amabel a bowl and plate as I moved a small table next to the fire for us to sit and eat. We sat in silence for a while, the sounds of us eating and the fire cracking the only noise coming from the room.

I watched again as Amabel moved her food about her plate, taking small bites and sips as if to stall whatever she had going in her head. I could always tell when she was nervous, she would bite her lip or fiddle with whatever was in her hands. Finally, she finished eating and set her things to the side.

”Can I ask why, Silas? ” Amabel said quietly. I was surprised by her question, turning my eyes towards her.

”Why? ”

”Well, I suppose…I always assumed wed end up married, obviously our families were close. I always thought, though, it wouldn come after a long end of silence. You were so sweet, and spent days with me, then all the sudden stopped. It was as though nothing happened. ” Amabel picked at her fingers and I felt my jaw tighten. I don blame her for asking, but I felt like any answer wouldn be what she wanted to hear. I thought for a moment before answering.

”It wasn as if I forgot, of course…I just, changed, is all. ” I cursed myself again, begging for a better answer to come to mind. Of course I had changed. I went on my first campaign, drew my first blood. Again and again, my father didn think any amount was enough. It never was, until the day he died. I remember the conversation we had before he passed, telling me it was time to be a man, I would soon be taking his title, his duties. It was time to set aside childish play. I realized after he passed that he was right, I had no time for childish play or fantasies anymore.

”I have changed as well, we all do as we grow. But – you, something in you seemed…Im not sure. ” She finished, shaking her head as her eyes bore into the fire in front of us.

”Im sorry Im not the sweet, clueless boy you once knew. Ive worked hard to build this up, to build up a life, a town – I didn have time to speak of silly fantasies and throw rocks anymore, Amabel! ” My voice crept up as my anger bubbled over. I saw her shrink, and I clenched my jaw.

”Im sorry, I didn mean - ”

”I am tired, Silas. I think Ill lay down now, if that is fine. ” Was all she said before standing up and taking one more sip of wine, walking over to the bed. I saw tears brimming her eyes and I felt as though I could die, I hated being the cause of those tears. I ran a hand through my hair, wondering why I had to yell. I waited until I heard her breath soften before getting into bed after her. I studied her face as she slept, her features soft after the small argument we had not even an hour before. I reached forward, gently brushing a curl out of her face with my finger. I sighed and rolled onto my back, studying the ceiling, thinking of ways I could apologize to her, begging for sleep to take over.

Of course, it didn , and I spent the night being as still as I possibly could, wondering what Amabel was dreaming of now. When we were young, shed always race to breakfast so we could sit and speak of what she dreamt of the night before. I always thought it was silly, her trying to figure out what they meant. It quickly became my favorite part of the morning, listening to her ramble on about them.

I wonder if that part of her had changed as well with age.

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