A queen needs her husband's brother to help insure her son will maintain the throne.
Laka closed her eyes. The king's brother Rei must be summoned. He was the only one strong enough to make sure her son became king when he came of age. She hadn't seen him since the day she agreed to marry his brother and become queen, twelve years ago. Now her son's safety rested on his shoulders.
Jericho the high guard of Rei's soldiers squinted his eyes as he saw a cloud of dust coming down the road fast. He turned and yelled, "riders coming in." Rei came out of the tent he had called home for twelve years. He walked beside Jericho, watching the cloud of dust come closer.
"What are the colors?" He asked. Jericho knew the unspoken question. "Yes they are your brother's colors," they both knew that the only reason someone would send him a missive is if his brother was dead.
Finally the horses halted in front of Rei and Jericho, Darius dismounted and kneeled before Rei. "The queen sends you a message," he said, than he and Jericho walked away to give Rei privacy.
"I need you more than ever before," the missive said, "please do not let past hurts turn you against your kingdom." Rei crumbled the missive and turned to his men, "We ride!" He yelled and everyone cheered.
Laka stood on the balcony with her son Odell, watching Rei and his men enter the palace gates. As if he sensed her perusal, he looked up and saluted mockingly. She took a step backwards, than squared her shoulders. "Come Odell," she said, "let us go welcome your uncle."
They walked down the stairs together as Rei entered the palace. At the sight of Laka, the pain of losing her, slammed through his heart. "I have come to protect you my king," he said to Odell, looking at the face that was so like his brother's. He bowed before the boy, "I have come to protect the kingdom," he said, than he gave Laka a cold look that caused her to flinch.
Laka made sure her son was asleep than slipped out of his chamber, she jumped as Rei emerged from the shadows. "We have to talk," he said grasping her elbow and leading her into his chamber. "I want an answer to why you broke off our betrothal and married my brother," he said. "My father decided that a king in the family would be better than a mere son," she said sadly. "I was threatened and so were you if I told you, if I tried to run." She wiped the tears that started to flow, "so I married Samir." She brought her hand up to caress Rei's face, "I never stopped loving you." She said Rei grasped her arms, pulling her toward him, "I never stopped either," he confessed, they stood there embracing for a long time.
Rei stood in the courtyard teaching Odell how to shoot an arrow, when a messenger came tearing through the palace gates. He halted his horse, jumping down. He knelt before Rei, handing him a missive without looking up. Rei opened the missive and read it, than looked at the messenger. "Thank you," he said, "you may go rest your horse and refresh yourself."
He turned as Laka came into the courtyard," what is it she asked? " The Orcadonians," he answered, "their burning villages and massacring people, north from here." He turned and signaled to Jericho, "the army and I leave at dawn." Than he strode out of the courtyard, leaving Laka looking after him in fear
Laka paced her chamber in worry. Finally she slipped out the door, down to Rei's chamber. He looked up as she entered, "is something wrong?" He asked, she shook her head and undid her robe, letting it drop to the floor.
Rei looked at her nude form in appreciation. "You don't have to do this," he said, even as his feet carried him to her. "I know," she said, "I want to." Rei brought a hand to caress her breast, Laka moaned at the wonderful feel of it. He grasped her arm, drawing her to him, and kissed her deeply.
They stood for a long moment, tasting each other. Than he picked her up and carried her to the bed, he began to kiss all over her body. Suckling her nipples, causing her to arch and cry out with pleasure. He kissed her stomach, than lower his head to her groin, licking her cunt lips, before plunging his tongue into her vagina. He licked her, as she cried out and grasped his head to her. He turned her over and licked her neck, her back. Than put her on all fours, she whimpered as he took her from behind. Her hands and knees sinking into the blankets, his body hard behind hers. They slammed together rocking the bed, as she screamed his name. He rode her silently as fast and hard as he could.
They came together in a climax that rocked them both, than collapsed together. He kissed her neck and murmured "thank you." But she fell asleep before she could ask what he was thanking her for.
She woke up in her own chamber the next morning, without being told she knew he had left. Rising she dressed and joined the others in the throne room to await some news.
Rei and his men rode hard to the latest Orcadonians massacre. Beside him Jericho blanched, the sight they saw making even the hardest warrior sick. The men had been gutted, left hanging by their intestines. The women had been staked to the ground and raped repeatedly, before their throats were cut. The children had been sliced apart by Orcadonians swords, the babies with their heads bashed in.
"Kamau," he called to his tracker, "find out where these bastards went." Kamau dismounted, kneeling on the ground. He studied the tracks than looked up at Rei his face pale. "Their heading for the Palace," he said.
Running to his stallion Rei mounted quickly galloping alongside his men. "My Laka," he thought in anguish, "let us get there in time." They rode hard, arriving at the palace gates. The gates had been battered open, He dismounted, drawing his sword and ran into the courtyard. Everywhere he looked there were dead bodies, he ran into the palace shouting Laka's name.
A moan drew his attention. He found Darius laying by the stairs, a dagger in his stomach. Rei knelt beside him, "where is Laka and Odell?" He asked urgently, the older man opened his eyes, "they were taken by Commander Jomei," the old man whispered. "He knew who they were, and took them as an attempt to gain the throne." Darius grasped Rei's sleeve, "you must save them," he whispered, than his hand fell away, as the life left his body.
Rei closed the eyes of the man who had been his father's best friend, than stood. "We will hunt down these dogs and show them what happens to cowards who make war with innocents." He said grimly, striding out of the palace and mounting his horse.
Laka struggled with Jomei as he held her in front of him on his horse. She looked for Odell frantically but couldn't see him. "Where is my son?" She cried, Jomei slapped her mouth, "shut up bitch," he growled, than leaned closer murmuring in her ear. "Or I'll find a way to keep that mouth occupied." He slid his hand up her stomach and twisted her nipple, causing her to cry out in pain. She closed her eyes against the violation and thought of Rei, "Rei my love," she cried silently "save us please."
Rei pushed his stallion as hard as he could, he prayed that he made it before the monsters hurt Laka or Odell. "I will marry her," he promised himself, "and help raise Odell to be a great king."
He closed his eyes and saw her the morning he carried her back to her chamber. Lips swollen from his kisses, beautiful even in sleep. "I should've woken her up before I left," he thought in anguish, "told her that I loved her one more time."
Jericho brought him out of his ruminating, "they've camped just ahead," he told Rei. "They must be very careless," "or very arrogant." Rei said, as they halted in a stand of trees right outside the large Orcadonian camp. He gathered his men around him, "we must be very careful," he told them. "To make sure nothing happens to the king, or his mother. Fight hard, fight well, and come back with your shield or on it."
The men all nodded, than surrounded the camp. Rei signaled for the archers, and they let loose a volley of arrows, blocking out the waning sun. The screams of the dying and wounded filled the air, as Rei charged with Jericho next to him, swords drawn. Rei swung his sword cutting off the head of one charging warrior, than turned and blocked the sword of another. He brought his sword around, gutting the man, causing his intestines to spill all over the ground.
Soon his sword was wet with blood, as he neared the tent of Commander Jomei, Jericho covered his back and he slit the tent open. Jomei was standing inside. His sword held against Laka's throat. Odell stood there kicking Jomei trying to get his mother loose.
Jomei sneered as he saw Rei, "well if it isn't the prodical son," he said, "come to save your big brother's throne, even though you know you'll never get it?" Rei drew his sword, pointing it at Jomei, "fight me," Rei taunted. "That is if you're man enough, not to need a woman for a shield."
Jomei's face darkened and he threw Laka aside, "I'm more man than you'll ever be," he raged at Rei."
"Than prove it," Rei sneered as they began to circle each other. Jericho helped Laka up, stopping her as she stepped forward to stop the fight. "This has to be done," he said as he held her arm.
Rei and Jomei circled each other, than Jomei lunged forward, Rei stepped aside and sliced Jomei's arm. He glared at Rei as blood poured down his arm, than he lunged again, slicing the side of Rei's face. "Now we both bleed," he sneered as the circled each other again.
Jomei plunged wildy catching Rei in the side, causing him to stumble. Rei turned as Jomei brought his sword down again, catching it with his own. They stood their swords locked for a moment, than Rei brought his sword around and caught Jomei in the neck, severing an artery. Jomei looked at him in surprise, than collapsed. He gurgled, than slowly died, as his lifeblood poured out of him.
Rei turned to Laka and stepped forward, than fell. Jericho grabbed him before he hit the ground, laying him on the tent's floor. Laka cried out and rushed forward kneeling next to him. She gasped in dismay as they removed his shirt which was soaked in blood. The wound in his side, deep, Jericho ran out of the tent, stopping the elated cries of the victorious army. He ran back in with the healer, who knelt on the other side of Rei. The healer probed the wound, than brought out his bag with herbs. He mixed herbs together and pressed it on the wound. Causing it to clot, than he looked at Laka, "that's all I can do," he said solemnly. "The rest is up to him." He got up and walked out of the tent, leaving Laka to grasp onto Rai's hand begging him not to die.
Rei was in a tunnel, at the end there was a white light. As he neared the white light, he felt warm, the pain lifting away. He began drifting closer and closer, he saw the figures of his parents and of his brother waiting for him. He heard Laka's voice coming from far away. She was begging him not to die, for him not to leave her. He looked at his family, than turned and went back the other way.
He awoke, grimacing at the pain in his side, than turned his head slightly. Laka laid next to him, her hand grasping his. Her eyes flew open as he whispered her name hoarsely. "Rai, you're awake," she exclaimed kissing him. "Oh my love, we thought we had lost you. You were feverish for days." Weakly Rai caressed her face, "you almost did lose me," he said, "I was going toward the light, but your voice called me back. You saved me."
Laka smiled as tears of joy ran down her face, "sleep my love," she whispered as his eyes closed. Running out of the tent she went to tell everyone the good news.
As soon as Rei was healed enough to ride home, they returned to Madonia, the kingdom was slowly being rebuilt. The townspeople cheered as they saw their young king. Rai rode with Laka who could've had her own horse, but hadn't wanted to leave him for to long since he awoke. They dismounted at the palace, and Jericho helped Rai up to his chamber.
He left them alone and went to have a conference with Darius' successor Paige. Laka stretched on Rai's bed, Odell slept between them. "I realized something when Jomei kidnaped you and Odell." He said stroking Odell's hair, and he looked at Laka. "I want to marry you, and raise Odell to be the king he's destined to be." Laka gasped in joy, leaning over and kissing Rei.
"I would be proud to marry you, you are my champion, my knight, you saved me my love." He grasped her hand and kissed it, "you saved me as well," he murmured, "and I would follow you to the ends of the earth." The three of them fell asleep, one happy family already, not knowing that the next son in a line of sons was already nestled under his mother's, one chapter of the story complete. The next just beginning.