Not Magic Enough

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Authors: Valerie Douglas
tears.
    “No willing wench and so I came home,” he said, thrusting hard, grunting with evident pleasure at her distress, “to my wife, who owes me her wifely duties.”
    Caught between fury and despair, her head ringing from his blow, Delae resigned herself to endure. She fought off the urge to weep, remembering all too well Dorovan’s gentle touch, the sweet pleasure of him even as her husband grunted his way to satisfaction like a pig, spilling his seed inside her.
    His body went lax as his pleasure loosened him.
    With a wrench of her body, she shoved him off to send him tumbling to the floor. His flesh hit with an ugly smack as his head bounced off the stone with a sound like a rap of knuckles upon a ripe melon.
    Rolling off the bed, she raced for the sword behind the door as he staggered to his feet.
    She looked him in the eye as she pointed the sword at him.
    “Get out and keep out. That’s the last time you touch me, Kort, or the next time I’ll gut you.”
    “You’re my wife,” he snapped.
    “So, suddenly you’ve remembered?” she shouted furiously. “Get out of my room and keep to your own. Or by God the next time you awaken you’ll be shorter by a few inches.”
    She let the blade of the sword drop just enough to indicate what she meant.
    His face blanched and his eyes narrowed.
    Delae lifted her chin. “Get out or I’ll gut you where you stand and hang for it. Then what will your parents do? Where will your drinking and gambling money come from?”
    He eyed her with a sneer.
    “I had to do you in the dark to want you anyway,” he said and slammed out.
    If it hadn’t been for the memory of Dorovan, the words would have hurt more, but they still pained her.
    Delae bit her lip to hold back the tears, listening intently until she was sure he’d returned to his rooms and then she slipped down the hallway to the guest room where Dorovan had spent his first night.
    She curled up around his pillows, pretending they were him and cried herself to sleep.
     
    Miles away Dorovan awoke in the night, troubled by thoughts and dreams of Delae, his friend-of-the-heart. Rubbing his hand over his heart, he went out to the veranda and looked out over the railing at the sleeping Talaena Enclave spread around him, the smallest of the Enclaves and the most insular.
    Delae was in trouble, something pained her. He had the strongest feeling she needed him and although it was very likely that whatever troubled her would be well over by the time he reached her; he also found he missed her presence.
    Travelling that distance would grow easier with time and he would have to take care not to raise questions with his absences. In truth it was likely none would notice or question. It wasn’t their way.
    Still, it wouldn’t do for anyone to find out who he went to see, more so if anyone found out he made love to her, however much they were friends-of-the-heart. It was forbidden with one of the race of men; however less fertile Elves were as a race.
    It would take only care but he needed her and it was clear she needed him. Badly at the moment.
    Charis awaited him at the stables. They had to take the short cut across the Gorge but it would still be a day or two before they reached Delae’s isolated homestead.

Chapter Seven
     
    It took a long hot bath and a lot of scrubbing before Delae felt clean again. She only dared bathe while Kort was occupied with his parents.
    She didn’t even attempt to hide the bruise on her face although his parents pretended it wasn’t there. No one else dared speak of it. Kort scowled at the sight. She simply went about her business, although it pained her deep in her belly to walk after his attentions the night before. It was as if she were bruised inside.
    Knowing Kort, she ordered Morlis to take all of the best animals over to the lands of one of the smallholders. The last time Kort appeared he’d ridden off with her prize stallion to sell as riding stock. It had taken two weeks to get it

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