Dawn broke over Talija and found Maikyl and Kevyl sleeping at the top of the tower, curled in their cloaks. The night was seasonably chilly, enough to put down a heavy dew that caught the sunrise turning the grasslands of Talija into fields of sparkling jewels. Curled up in their chilly wet cloaks, they realized it would be nigh impossible to get back into the Lodge unnoticed. Standing up and seeing the beauty around them, both were left breathless and their worries about going back in disappeared.
“In a few short hours, all of this will be…” Maikyl paused for a moment and looked at Kevyl with a beaming smile that spread ear to ear. “This will be ours my love. We shall rule it together.”
Kevyl paused for a moment, taken aback by what Maikyl had just said. Kevyl found himself running through the hidden passages, frantically trying to escape from the Lodge.
I’m not a ruler…I’m not even Talijali!…I’m the Sovereign’s consort, nothing more and nothing less!
Finally reaching the entry into their chambers, Kevyl charged into his own room to find that no one had been there yet. He quickly changed into his commonest clothes and made his way out of the Lodge trying his best not to be seen. Slipping out into the marketplace, Kevyl was amazed at how many people were already in the Lodge, the stalls doing a brisk business so early in the morning.
He hadn’t even reached the inner gates before two hulking brutes grabbed him by his arms and picked him up. They said nothing but immediately started back for the Lodge.
“What in the name of Great Wolf is going on?” Kevyl screamed.
“Shut up. Come with us.” growled one of the brutes, “Maikaj is not happy with you right now.”
“How did you…” Kevyl stopped and let his body go limp, head down, and stared at the dirt below. Wolves, Kevyl. Wolves.
After a few minutes, they crossed into the lodge. The dirt of the market gave way to the cobblestone of the Outer Lodge. He was keenly aware of where they were going until there was a sudden change in direction. They were not heading to their chambers, they were heading for the Formal Lodge Hall where Maikaj kept court, causing Kevyl to shudder from the cold chill that went down his spine.
Faintly, Kevyl heard the mid-morning chimes from the market place as they turned the corner into court room behind the Formal Hall.
The brutes set him down and Kevyl fell onto the floor, suddenly aware of his failures. The fading echo of the brutes’ boots was the only sound
Maikyl kneeled down and whispered to Kevyl, “Are you comfortable down there?”
Kevyl didn’t move, not even lifting his cheek to address Maikyl, muttering only a quiet yes.
Maikyl picked up Kevyl and set him on his feet. Stepping next to him, he wrapped his arms around his lover’s waist. “All of this will be yours, you know. I will share all I have with you.”
Kevyl looked to the side. “I do not wish for power or land. I do not wish for wealth.”
Maikyl furrowed his brow. “What do you wish for?”
Kevyl looked up into Maikyl’s eyes and let out one word, You.
Maikyl gasped and stood silently. The simple honesty of Kevyl’s answer hit him like a hammer. He had been so wrapped up in the details of Kevyl’s become his Beta, the 2nd in charge of the Lodge and all of Talija, he’d forgotten about Kevyl, his lover.
Maikyl felt tears starting to run down his face and turned away from Kevyl briefly. “Come my love, we need to talk. Let us go back to the tower and talk privately.”
Soon they were back on top of the tower, removed from the chaos of the preparations. As they looked around the Lodge, they smiled at each other.
Maikyl dropped to one knee and tried to say something but couldn’t. Kevyl extended a hand to help him rise but instead Maikyl kissed it gently.
“My soon-to-be husband, I apologize for my follies. I have been so wrapped up in the political and practical matters of our marriage, I have forgotten about you. Your concerns and your needs weren’t even an afterthought.” Maikyl paused to wipe away a now steady stream of tears with his freehand, never letting go of Kevyl’s hand. He continued in a husky voice, filled to breaking with emotion, “Kevyl, what do you want from me? You will have the keys to all of Talija and yet you only ask for me. Your heart is so sincere and I have forgotten about you as my lover. I have enjoyed your presence and the time we have spent together but how…”
Kevyl reached across and put a finger across Maikyl’s mouth, silencing him.
“My love, now you understand why I asked for you. You are have been so wrapped up in the planning and the battles with Leathart that even when we were together, you were elsewhere. You have three loves. The Great Wolf, Talija, and me. I could never ask you to put me before the Great Wolf and with our marriage, I will be there beside you with Talija.” Kevyl ended with a smile.
Kevyl’s smile twisted into a brief smirk, “Most Revered Elpa Maikaj, leader of Talija, Head of the Wolf Lodge and Paw of the Great Wolf; I command you to rise.”
Maikyl was taken aback at Kevyl using his full titles and stood tall, his stature towering over Kevyl.
“Good. I will never see my husband on bended knee again unless it is in prayer or out of respect to another. Am I understood?” Kevyl said with all the certainty of a leader.
“Kevyl-ja, my consort, Beta of the Wolf Lodge, you have my word. Now, let’s get ready and get married!”
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