Chapter 7 Misunderstandings...
Amaruq smiled was the first thing Adam saw as he blinked the spots out of his vision, which no doubt was by design. Adam turned towards her and as he did he felt the mood of the room shift. From cautious to downright hostile as the soldiers in their padded armor stepped forward, their spears wicked looking spiked spears leveled directly at his vitals as they positioned themselves in front of Amaruq. It took him entirely to long to realize why they were acting that way, and when he did he felt like an idiot. Held in the crook of one elbow was his new sword, and in his other hand was his gym bag, not that he had really wanted to bring them along, they had simply come with him because he hadn't been able to set them down in time. So, in the guard's eyes a person with a weapon had just materialized in front of their queen, stepping forward to confront said person must have been almost religiously beaten into them, so it wasn't like he could blame them for their response.
"Apologies," He said as he carefully lowered the bag and then placed the sword over it and stepped backhands up to show he was holding no other weapon. "I wasn't intending on bringing that, it was simply in my hands when I was pulled here, I had just gotten done with my," he paused and thought of the word. "I suppose it would be swordmaster to you?" he half asked half said. "Honestly, I was going to lay it down but I barely got home before I was here."
One of the guardswomen stepped forward and he recognized her face from the introductions, though he had forgotten her name. If he remembered correctly she had been introduced to him as the captain of the guard. As she walked forward she went down onto her haunches and grabbed the blade, picking it up and drawing it from its sheath in a single fluid motion, rising as she did so. With an ease that only came from years of practice she swung the blade through the air, creating the woosh characteristic of a blade swung with proper edge alignment as it cut through the air. Putting the scabbard down she grabbed the hilt with two hands and started flowing, her forms alien to him but graceful and exuding a sort of power and beauty. After a few moves she slid the sword back into its sheath with a begrudging look of respect of sorts before placing it to the side of the gym bag and working to open it, it only took her a few seconds to work out how the zipper worked and when she did she opened and closed the bag, zipping it up and unzipping it several times over before she even considered looking at the stuff inside. She pulled out his sparring gear and laid it on the floor in a neat row before picking up the mask and looking at it more carefully.
"This is poor protection," she commented as she pressed the mesh of the mask in with a finger. "This will not stop a sharpened point, not enough layers."
"It's not supposed to," he said with a smile, she simply raised an eyebrow at that so he continued. "It is for sparring, meaning sharpened blades are not used, just blunt ones, and normally not even real steel blades." she nodded at that and continued to pursue his belongings, first looking at the gambeson and the rest of the sparring gear before moving on to even sniff at his deodorant stick.
"Why do you have a sharpened sword if you were just sparring?" she asked, looking over at the blade and then back up at Adam.
"I got it commissioned, and it was delivered to me at the gym, erm, swordmaster's yard-" he amended as he saw the look of confusion on her face at the word gym. "It was simply in my arms when I was whisked away." She looked into his eyes for a second before nodding to herself and standing up.
"Very well, I must insist that these stay here, however," she said, "and I would like to request the right to search you," she said in an almost apologetic tone of voice.
"By all means," he said, taking off his jacket and holding his arms out at his sides ready to be frisked down for weapons. He was hoping that his act of compliance would perhaps remove at least some of the unwavering spears that were still aimed at him. He didn't like not being able to see all of them, it made his spine tingle and he half expected a spear thrust when he was not looking.
"There will be no need of that," Amaruq said as she stepped forward, her smile was back in place but as she got closer her brows knit together. Adam watched as her nose twitched the nostrils flaring and with a sinking feeling he knew right then and there that she could smell the perfume that Bobbi wore, as well as his own sweat, and judging by the way her face darkened Adam could make a guess at the direction of her thoughts.
He held up one hand, forestalling the angry words that were about to spill out of her mouth. It was time to go into damage control mode here, 'damn Bobbi for putting me in a situation like this.' was one of the foremost thoughts in his mind as he attempted to defuse the situation, which had gone from bad to worse real fast, "Before you start getting angry at me, do you not think you should allow me to explain before you jump to conclusions." He said, and without answering she moved close to him, deliberately sniffing the air, before anyone could say anything his hand reached out and grabbed the dagger at her belt, wood creaked as hands gripped the shafts of spears tighter and he heard the rasp of a blade leave the sheath but ignored it, focusing instead on wrapping his hand around the hilt of the blade and pointing it at his own heart.
The entire room froze.
"This is a custom among my people we use it to show we are serious, if I were to lie to you it is your right to take my life," he said, attempting to be calm, she placed her hand over the back of his, which would have been reassuring if not for the fact that it was in the perfect position to thrust the dagger into his chest.
"You would have to either be a great liar or completely trusting of your truth and the person you were presenting it to," she remarked dryly.
"And you would be a terrible queen if you could not discern truth from lies." He answered her.
"You mean like this?" she asked pushing the blade a little deeper so that it rested only an inch away from his chest. "This is not a custom of your people." her voice was dry as a desert when she said it.
"Good," he stated simply, she just narrowed her eyes at him. "You are upset because you believe I have been sleeping around with other women while engaged in dating you." Adam stated simply, "And while my pride is hurt by the fact that you feel this way I am intelligent enough to understand it." His own eyes narrowed and he growled low in his throat, "But I will allow you to question that only once and only because you do not know me well." It was not a threat, just a promise. "Seeing as the evidence is against me I will tell you how it came to be as such and how the conclusion you have jumped to is the wrong one, I have been going to a gym to exercise and learn a new fighting style." He saw the flash of confusion through her amethyst eyes at the word gym and clarified. "A gym is short for the word gymnasium, it is a place like a training ground where professionals teach skills of both combat and excurses." he said before going on. "Three days ago I requisitioned a new blade from the best local blacksmith, who happened to be a woman named Bobbi Reyan, I had never met her before that day nor have I ever used any of her works but my trainer told me she was one of the best and so I went to her forge to get a blade." he paused, almost feeling the blade right where it hovered a few inches away from where his heart was. "after she had me test some blades she took my measurements and sent me away."
"Nothing happened while you were at her forge?" Amaruq questioned her eyes searching his own, and he held them hoping she was quite good at discerning truth from lies.
"Nothing happened, in fact I wondered if I had somehow pissed her off with how fast she sent me away I was going to start looking for another comparable smith when she showed up to the gym today." Adam held her searching eyes. "She brought the blade down from her mountain home, which judging by my trainer's reaction was not normal, and she wore the perfume that you smell now, I must say I am not a big fan of the scent of jasmine." He said, grimacing. "It is the same smell Amy wore, brings back to many tainted memories." Sighing he went one, almost forgetting the point of the blade he had placed at his own heart. "I asked her the price of the blade, it is of superb quality, she told me it would be $1,700 which is a large sum, a man could eat for a month on it easily and have some spare, she also said a night out on the town was part of the price." Amaruq's face darkened, "In an attempt to simply be done with her I nearly doubled the money for the sword, giving her $3,000 and left." He paused, and then asked. "You have carriages correct?" to which Amaruq nodded in confusion. "oh good, this will make the next part easier to explain, well my car, which is a vehicle similar to a carriage was inoperable, but seeing as your ring had started glowing I needed to get home so when I disappeared no one would see it, so I asked for a ride of anyone in the gym and she was the one that offered first and due to my pressing need I took her offer and had her deliver me home, I barely shut the door before I was here, so no, I have not slept around, I have not cheated, nor will I ever, if there is one thing you should know about me it is that I am a prideful creature, and a possessive one." he growled the last. "And if what I say is untrue I charge you with ending me here and now."
She held his eyes for a moment longer before lowering his hand by pushing the blade down, he didn't resist her and simply allowed her to remove it from his hand. "My magic allows me to tell when a person is lying, not what they are lying about but that they are lying, I am sorry for jumping to conclusions, I like you was spurned once, though not so badly, I fear it has clouded my judgment."
"Will you tell me?" he asked, and then he realized they were still surrounded by others, there was a long pause of silence before she spoke again...
"Out," she said, and her captain of guard stepped up.
"M'lady?" she asked.
"Everyone but Ahanah and Alasie," no one moved for a second, until she snapped again. "That is an order!" she snarled and spears were lowered as guardswomen filed out of the stone room. It didn't take long before it was simply the four of them, Amaruq, Ahanah the starseer, Alasie the captain of the guard, and himself. "He was one of the suitors, and my youngest sister fell in love with him at first sight, it took the rest of us longer but eventually he won us over," sighed and seemed to sag slightly." we were in talks with his sisters about him becoming the royal consort, he and my youngest sister did things," she paused, unsure of how to approach the subject. "He did not take her virginity, but he violated her with his hands, at the time it was no issue, he was to be the consort, he would soon be able to do that and more." She sighed, "We found secret missives between him and his sisters talking about how easy it had been to manipulate us, and how he planned on impregnating Ria and forcing us into the marriage should anything go badly in the talks, the truth broke Ria's heart, and after the talks of him being consort broke off rumors started spreading about how loose the women of my family where, of how we had spread our legs for a suitor before he was even accepted for marriage." She sighed, "Ria is still devastated about it, and it was almost a year ago, she is timid and shy and feels unclean now, gone is the girl with a joy of life, I fear that it might be gone forever, leaving her a shell of her old self." She shook her head sadly, "After the rumors the number of suitors dropped sharply leaving only the three that value the political advantage over all else, Adam, I am protective of my sisters, even more so now that I understand the troubles a heart can create, it is why I am the only sister you will interact with, until you agree to marry."
"I can understand that." he nodded slowly.
"I am sorry to judge you so poorly." She said head bowed low, without saying a word he lifted her chin to make her look into his eyes. They were so liquidy that he felt like he could drown in them. Without a word he leaned in and softly pressed his lips to hers, gently at first before pressing harder biting and nipping at her lip tasting the sweetness of her mouth. He pulled back, breaking the kiss off before it could go any further, and she stepped back, her hand going up to her mouth.
"What was that?" she asked, her finger lightly touching her lips
"What?" he asked but then saw her fingers on her lip, "the kiss?" he asked and then laughed, he held up both hands as her face darkened with indignation and somehow got his giggling fit under control. "Its a sign of affection, usually only ever used between two people dating, engaged, or married." she opened her mouth to say something but before she could he spoke up first. "Now then, since we are done with this drama can we get on with our date?" he asked, and there was another pause.
"Yes, perhaps that would be for the best," she said slowly, and he attempted to not laugh as she turned and walked out, much more stiffly than she had on even their first encounter. A smile broke out on his lips without his volition, Amaruq was so used to being the one in control that she didn't know how to handle a situation where she wasn't, he was going to have some fun with that...