Not every Princess gets a knight in shining armour. Some get tyrants who care about few things more than warring and whoreing. Husband and Wife are only titles that don’t quell affairs and love and hate are two sides of the same coin.
Fey had enjoyed her first truly fun day in as long as she could remember since being in the dale. She seldom stopped laughing. It had been her and four at first — he’d been in the great library looking over a book three times his size.
“Erik needs help and since you’re being a bad wife, I’m looking for extra strategies” the insolent overgrown child says without looking up from the papers.
“Because you know everything” Fey comments sitting beside her youngest brother.
“I know more than you”
Yeah?” Fey smiles and he hands her a scroll written in a foreign scribe.
“It says” He says proudly. “That is we divert the stream from the violet springs, soak the ashes and then wet the gardens for the net three days the plants will take root again” Fey stands placing the scroll down to make sense of the drawings before looking at her brother in shock.
“Erik doesn’t need war plans, he’s fought them for longer than you’ve drawn breath” Fey comments picking him up with ease despite his protest. “And what do you know of a bad wife?” She asks tickling him.
“I said you’re a bad wife, not that you don’t love him” Fey sits back stunned at the Childs eyes — he missed nothing and had a knowingness to his innocence. “Come on let me bring this to the council then lets get my nephews so we can start on the garden.” He smiled running towards the council only to have some of men frustrated at Erik forcing them to stomach the presence of a child among them.
“My King” Fey and Four had bowed before fining Cassius and three with Eriks sons and heading to the gardens. Its an hour before they were all laughing and slipping and falling in the mud like swine planting seeds and digging holes to enable germination. The guards stood at attention perplexed at first before the infectiousness of their happiness enlisted their help.
Fey could feel peace again, balance and what it is like to live again while having a loving family.
Fey swallows getting stares as she and her army of mud men and boys trail into the castle. The whispers wait till she’s passed until the boys laughter resumes spreading smiles throughout the palace. They are given to their attendants who wash them, fey is cleaned herself by bess who is unamused with the places she’s gotten mud in as she brushes out her hair.
“You’re a Queen not an animal” she chastises. “Good god, look at those fingernails. Fey!” She shouts starting a manicure.
“Bess” Fey giggles and its been so long Bess freezes looking at the woman she’d raised from birth and loved as much as she would have loved her own children.
“That smile could change the world” she says.
“I’ll make sure to use it net time you start fussing” Fey winks as her body is dried and clean garments fit for a queen are placed onto her.
“Where are you off to now”
“The king has been in council since sunrise, his queen may be able to relieve him of his duties as she was frolicking”
Not every Princess gets a knight in shining armour. Some get tyrants who care about few things more than warring and whoreing. Husband and Wife are only titles that don’t quell affairs and love and hate are two sides of the same coin.
Riding forward Erik ignores the smell of fire and the promise he had made to himself needing an outlet to quell his rage. He had made it a point to stay away from Salise when he saw how Fey welcomed his children as her own. He’d realized his wife was capable of love in the way she cared for them dutifully and without any of the reservations or the disdain she had felt for him. Dismounting his horse under the cover of darkness he walks to the door using his key and entering his lovers home. He finds her humming on the top floor and playing the harp in a dress with transparent fabric.
“A fire and a visit from the king in one day.” She comments standing slowly and arranging her dress to fall correctly before she smiles bowing deeply in front of him.
Erik tosses her a bag of coins “I’m not here to talk”.
She smiles at his directness. “I’m no longer a woman for purchase - that ended nearly a decade ago remember. When you decided I would be your favourite?” She stands upright touching his shoulders and raising her head to kiss him softly.
“I want you back in the palace” Erik says and Salise smiles.
“I lost you the moment you laid eyes on her” she speaks freely.
“I did not want to dishonour my wife in her home” Erik reiterates his reasoning.
“Now you do?” His lover asks - she had his mind for years before it had been conquered by his betrothed. When he was younger she had been his first conquest - a woman that was all the best things about women. She brought him women and other aphrodisiacs to keep their love making fresh. She had been a woman from the isles, they’d been renowned for their lovemaking before the flood washed away their civilization and way of life. Her price had been unfathomable but Erik paid for the experience, and continued to pay so no other man could have the same pleasures.
“Im not concerned with my wife’s pride”
“Erik, you love her. More than you’ve ever loved me or anything besides war and I will not be made a fool of when I’m returned here with chests of gold for a consolation” Salise swallows. “You will not use me to make your wife jealous or provoke her because all else has failed.”
“I am your King! You will do as I say” Erik snaps grabbing her face angrily - he’d had more than enough insolence from women to last him a lifetime.
“No matter how much I love you Erik, you’ll always love her” Salise speaks freely with a soft expression making her lover sigh.
“I do not love her” he attests taking Salise to bed and breaking his vows to himself. His mother had advised if he wanted his wife to open up to him he would have to cut all emotional ties with other woman and allow for roots to grow between them but where was she now? Gone, somewhere or the other. He could feel the distaste for her too and the passion from hatred growing within him as he intends to put his passion into Salise.
He would make love to her like he should make love to Fey; his wife. He follows her silently to her bedchamber undoing her dress and removing it as he kisses down her neck to her shoulders leaving gooseflesh in his wake. Grabbing her breasts as he stands behind her still he returns to her neck until he finds the set that makes her vocalize her arousal.
“Let me pleasure you my king” Salise offers feeling the tension build between her legs, the longing, the soreness, the throbbing that needed attention. She needed to look up into his dark eyes and see how much she aroused him. She needed to see him smile at her skill before his eyes shut as he breathes through his climax.
“Let me” Erik says leaving her mouth agape; it had been over three years since she had had his mouth on her - out of respect for his wife. It had been just as long since they made love in positions that allowed them to look upon one another.
Erik had tried to be a husband to his bitch of a wife but that was over now as he laps as his mistresses centre. He finds his technique again enjoying the act just as much as he enjoys hearing her praise him while begging for more. She fails to be gentle deliriously grabbing as his dreads as she squirms.
“I love you” she pants her stomach rising and falling as he removes his pants revealing his manhood. Getting on his knees he pulls her to him by his until they’re aligned. Salise pulls his lips down to meet hers enjoying another kiss as she grinds on his fingers teasing her.
“How much do you love me?” Erik rasps with a voice deeper than usual.
“With all of me” she pants looking him in his eyes as he enters her abruptly.
“Then’ll have every inch of you tonight” he promises before making his words a reality in every way.
The smell of burning shrubbery and wood still lingered a week after the blade had been put out. Erik’s rage had brought with it darkness and thick fog. He could feel the uncertainty of his people and the superstition of bad omens that lingered with the fog but he maintained that training and harvest were still the top priorities of the kingdom. He waited at court for his wife as a formality and yet she refused to come. It was Elias who brought him the news of her seclusion.
Fey was barricaded into her quarters, her maids, ladies and even Bess were ordered to stay out. The guards she brought from her home stationed outside of each entrance ready to enforce her rule until the death. Erik had ignored her cry for attention as he saw it for two days before marched to her quarters in rage. Seeing the fear in Bess and Omar’s eyes made him feel a sense of uneasiness. Neither of them particularly liked him but all of that seemed to be second to their overwhelming concern which meant something was gravely wrong.
“It has been five days - she hasn’t allowed in any food or water” Bess speaks and Omar swallows as Erik notices tears forming in his eyes.
“And you’re allowing that” Erik steps forward making the loyal century raise his spear - an act of treason and war. Eriks guards step forward until he gestures them to be at ease. Omar had never been disrespectful - Fey’ s safety and well being was always his primary concern - he didn’t concern himself with their marital affairs and had always shown kindness to Eriks sons.
“How do we know she’s still alive? Has he come to see her?” Erik asks
“No, she has forbidden everyone from entry and these come out every night” Bess explains showing papers with simple numbers on them for each day. Erik swallows seeing the deteriorated penmanship to mark the third and fourth days of her strike.
“Did she say when she will be out?” He questions.
“May I speak freely?” Omar swallows getting a permissive nod from the king.
“My Queen is in a great deal of pain, anything but obedience could break her spirit” Omar says.
“In other words leave?” Erik interprets clenching his jaw in contemplation. An unfamiliar feeling bubbled inside of him - fear. Concern, for the well being of his queen and fear of losing her. He could feel it in the pit of his stomach. The thought of having to explain her death to the kingdom made everything too much. He turns without words rushing to his own quarters wishing he too had a veil at times like this when he couldn’t stomach the worry.
Barely making it to a basin he throws up. His stomach heaving violently as he expels its entire contents without control of his bodily functions.
Salise’s words come back to him as he tastes the bitterness in his mouth. Sending his own staff away he sits at his balcony all night unable to sleep and watching fir the moon for the grey skies.
Did he really love her through all the hate?
Killmonger had taken the lives of many men with a clear conscience but this was different. Standing he searches for an old chest that had been given to him by his parents many years ago. His mother prayed often but in secret, she frequently used oils and herbs and waters to keep him safe - or so she believed.
He uses the passages to enter his mothers old quarters illuminating it and standing in the familiar room. He searches for her things until he finds it - the necklace she always wore during hard times - vowing it brought her peace. She had told him peace was important because men value beauty and without peace a woman is miserable and grows weary. His eyes fall on her candles, she lit one every night his father was away on a campaign. Swallowing his pride he lights the candle removing his wedding band as he’d seen his mother do time and time again.
His wife was withering and he would be a failure if he let her wilt completely.
Authors Note:Hope you enjoyed reading this part. It was fun to write. How are we feeling about Salise (like Elise but with a “s” at the beginning) and eriks relationship. How do we feel about the fog and his relationship with his mother and her wisdom? Don’t forget to like and comment :)
Hey, babes! Things are getting interesting with our protagonists. This chapter has significantly less visuals as many of the ones carry over into this one. Things are heating up and thanks in advance for reading :)
The whispers were ever increasing and so was Eriks presence in the castle. His oversight looming over his wife and children due to lack of trust. Bess flutters around her queen taking extra time to accentuate Fey’s best features in effort to soften the resentment between the heads of state.
“Fey this is a trying time, try to be there for him” Bess reasons.
“Has my mother enlisted you in her treachery?” Fey snaps. Bess had been more of a mother to her then her biological mother ever had been.
“Is it treacherous to care for your child?”
“No its treacherous to arrange a marriage with your daughter and a mad man - then fein caring for her” Fey sighs. Bess had knelt and prayed and wept to the Queen begging her to reconsider the arrangement.
While the other girls learned and sewed and sang Fey was taught the womanly arts, how to be a good wife, excellent lover and persuade men into doing her bidding. It was important for a Queen; the property of powerful and dangerous men. It was then she started wearing veils, Cassius her older brother and her would find girls of similar stature to fill in for her. The castle kept their secrets leaving her to run and play with her brothers - to train with them and learn about the art of war instead of love making.
Fey had given Bess a thousand and one mini heart attacks but she always repented honestly demanding whatever Bess’ punishment was to be and doing it dutifully.
Out of his five children Tobias was most impressed with Fey. Not for her beauty - its existence would only endanger her in the world of men and he knew that all too well. But she was a good girl. Malik his oldest had been a quiet and obedient boy. Cassius hot blooded and rash. Three a nervous wreck ill suited for much of mans work and Four wise beyond his years and drawn to his sister. She loved them all, dearly and they all loved her.
“Queen Celeste would never let any ill happen to her children” Bess chastises.
“Perhaps you should serve her grace instead of me” Fey responds tired of thinking of her mother.
“Fey” Bess chimes getting a look.
“Erik is not a patient man, he is not a kind man and yet he manages grace - for you somehow with his black heart. Do not spurn his effort”
“Bess, you wouldn’t dare speak to my brothers like that. I do not need to hear that horse shit” Fey stands leaving and heading to the stables. Her emotions bubble threatening to boil over as she strides to find Brutus the silent beast that shed taken from the Dale to this place. Her guard Omar is at ease ceasing to brush to beast to bow.
“Rise” Fey whispers with a smile.
“My Queen” he steps forward with attention to her tearful eyes. Holding her hand out she stops his advance in attempt to comfort her.
“I need some time alone - i’ll ring the bell and Brutus would never let any harm come to me” Few sighs getting a nod as her guard leaves. Brutus lowers resting his forehead on hers as she steps in closer hugging her steed.
“You have every right to be upset with me” Tre’s voice says from behind Fey as he emerges from the shadows. Something they’d gotten quite good at during their teenage years. Fey doesn’t move as she tries using her animal’s strength to keep her from a show of emotion like she’d shown Erik. “Punish me as you wish - but I tried to make it back and then your father pledged me to him for a logging mission for fortification supplies. Then your mother told me you were happy here. I went back to the Oasis last year and met with Cassius - he said you weren’t in love or happy. He said he hadn’t spoken to Malik or your father since they allowed you to go and refused to try and get you back.”
“Do I look like a woman that needs rescuing by a man who failed the first time?” Fey asks turning to face him. Somehow he was more handsome now, more muscular, more serious - he’d known heartbreak and it had hardened him. He unsheathes his sword bending on one knee dutifully and holding it as an offering.
“I submit to the Queens justice” he speaks bowing his had slightly to make the beheading easier.
“Die in battle, die protecting my brothers, getting information to save the lives of my people. Kill the dream of what we may have been to each other as adolescents. I am married and a Queen - I have no interest in generals” Fey breaths maintaining a cool air. The desire in her heart only made her hate him more. To be in bed with him again, her heart wanted to leap at the thought. Her loins yearning for that connection. To lay beside him as he watched her lovingly. Holding her and kissing her in the moonlight as incense burned. How his heartbeat matched the pace of hers. There’d been no secrets between them then. He knew all her dreams. Her smile was always brighter when he was among them.
“Fey” he snaps her out of her daydream.
“Your Grace” Fey corrects as he looks up to this stranger standing in confusion.
“I love you, why are you doing this? The rocks caved in and people were going to die I had to do what I could to get out. I pushed Onyx to the brink of death trying to ride back but you had gone.”
“Love means nothing to me”
“Love meant everything to you” Tre reasons stepping closer as his heart breaks. Brutus to huff a warning for him to stay back.
“The girl you love died outside the gates of the Dale a little over three years ago. Feel free to mourn.” Fey says leaving as her heart breaks again - their lives had been planned together in a childish fantasy that only made her hurt.
Erik swallows at the news, Fey had nothing but space and opportunity to betray him yet she hadn’t. She hadn’t stepped forward or even entertained the advances of her former lover. It had been love - Erik could see that plain as day. Her armour cracking more day after day as readable emotions sink beneath her eyes. She’d been inseparable from Kane neglecting her other duties to be close to the boisterous young boy.
“I’m tired of you’re insolence and disregard you will join me at dinner” Erik commands appearing in her doorway.
“Bess, put the boy to bed” she bends kissing his cheek and giving him a smile.
“Nite Nite” he smiles waving in his parents direction leaving Erik to groan in distaste - none of his sons were anything like him.
“He spends too much time around women” Erik comments.
“You’re his father - give it sometime and he’ll impress you with the activities he fancies being around women for” Fey comments making no effort to dress herself to leave her room. Erik finds her chest of jewels and an overcoat she can wear thats acceptable for dinner.
“Appearances” he reminds and she obliges him without words placing on the bangles earrings and a face plate under her eyes. “Whats an ugly queen?” He adds.
“Has your lip healed already?” Fey asks donning a spiteful smirk.
“You enjoy provoking me so why is it you haven’t been sneaking around the castle with your old flame?” Erik prods he needed to know everything.
“If it comes to war he’s worth at least twelve men, why not use him?” Fey’s eyes are so cold Erik almost believes her words.
“They said you were beautiful, kind, compassionate, fun and everything else a man could want.” Erik opens the door once she’s ready and the guards bow as they make their way to the dining hall.
“You wound me” her sarcasm is evident despite her whisper.
“Rude, vengeful, cold, unavailable” Erik lists taking her hand and squeezing when she tries to pull it away from him.
“Perhaps my dear husband’s influences has eroded onto me” she swallows, its the best she can do feeling the weight of the truth in his words. She had become an unrecognizable person.
“It would be the only thing” he comments feeling her hand in his was as much contact as he was permitted. He’d kissed her once in an argument and she’d kneed him in the balls telling him to never do that ever again. He’d been so upset he destroyed her room in a rage, visited a brothel for a week and then went on a killing spree in the jails of all the vassal states. All because he’d vowed against ever hurting her.
He pulls her chair out as she sits before pushing it in once she’s seated. A formal dinner could go a long way. It would start whispers of harmony in the marriage, give the people something to think about other than war and present the appearance of a calm and united front.
“I received a letter from the Queen of the Dale requesting your brothers be granted safe entry and the hospitality of our kingdom” Erik says procuring the scroll once the food is presented and they are left alone.
“So she know’s Tre is here and is sending Cassius to ensure I don’t lose my head?” Fey comments taking a grape.
“Your brother has a bad temper, recipe for disaster is it not?” Erik inquires.
“From whom do you think I learned the art of provocation?” Fey asks. “My mother is a meddling cunt - she knows I have no intention of asking you to send the Dale aid. So she’ll use my brothers to persuade me, to remind me of what I loved about it and be its aid again” Fey reasons knowing her mother having lost her appetite. It had been a noble sacrifice then, an easy act of self sacrifice then. Riding down to the gates, commanding they be opened and meeting an army capable of great terrors. Quelling the temper of a man who’s tyranny stretched kingdoms by agreeing to marriage.
“After three years without a response she still writes; she must love you” Erik reasons knowing his own mother loves him despite their distance and absence.
“Love has never done me any good” Fey sighs feeling stupid and bitter. “Your Grace, there will be war, let us plan for that and not matters of emotion - I hear the Barrow King intends to add me to his collection, sack the city, put a pup in me, absorb your kingdoms.” Fey says without conviction retelling all the whispers. She should be terrified but Erik can see the amusement in her eyes.
“And that amuses you?” He raises his eyebrow disgusted at the idea.
“The Barrow King will never touch me” Fey’s assertion is made in confidence. “He’s said to have witches, prophets and necromancers as well as a legion of insurgents. Erik, he causes internal disorder, his strategies are underhanded. I propose protection over the food and drink and only your trusted men be given its oversight. Strategy should be covert and newcomers turned away.” Fey lists picking at some bread - her reality would never be as a concubine of a grotesque pale king.
“What say you if I ask that you train with your brothers and myself - you have guards but being capable on your own is priceless” Eriks concern for her is genuine.
“I’m married to the most dangerous man and force known to man. I do not fear any others, nor do I fear death” Fey responds pushing her hair aside. “That is my council do what you will with it my King” she smiles as another course is brought to them.
“And why were there whispers of my dear wife crying today?” Eriks eyes are ambivalent as he evaluates his wife expression. Its not aggression or resentment or even her usual annoyance, it’s pure self loathing. She goes to respond before looking down at her hands in a look of contemplation. He’d noticed the change too - her not so secret meeting with her formal lover changed things.
“Memories drifting down my cheeks” Fey breathes finally in reflection. Her eyes are glossy and her fists balled. He watches as it takes a moment for her body language to make the change from confrontational to her usual poise. Her posture is casual and regal again in mere seconds and she manages a breath cloaking herself with an artificial mark.
“You may be excused if that is what you wish” Erik speaks feeling the need to show mercy, he’d never been a remedy for her pain - only the recipe.
“Thank you for the kindness my king” She stands bowing before leaving respectfully.
Hope you all enjoy the chapter, how do we feel about Erik taking his wife’s council and giving her a long rope to hang herself? How do we feel about Tre and Fey’s relationship and their unresolved issues and feelings? Would you hold a grudge like fey? Or how about the mothers? Both being beautiful and noticeably absent as parents from their royal offsprings lives.