The evening air was thick with conflict in the sandy alley. Arjak's knuckles were red from the contact that shattered Hasan's nose. That hand was now grasping the handle of his knife should the conflict decide to evolve.
The most level-headed of the Ascarans, the captain Caleb, addressed Helena in a very stern way, in a way that was brisk and purely business. While Hasan was still gripped in a fury of passion, Arjak remained between the man and Ciara. When Helena yelled for the two of them to go, Arjak paused for a moment, wanting to stay and fight, but at the same time knew that such action would only further complicate things for the rest of the group. With a gruff sigh, Arjak took Ciara tightly by the hand and lead her back towards the Inn where the others were still waiting for them, though he took a different route.
"Ciara, that pompous little shit looked like you broke his heart once. Do you know him from somewhere?" Arjak asked over his shoulder as he pulled her through back alleys and side streets, a different path than before. Who did that little bastard think he was, assuming that everything with a pulse bowed to his every whim.
"We need to get back to the others, and we need to get the blazes out of this bloody sand-pit." Arjak mumbled with frustration dripping from his every word.
Arjak was pulling on her hand, almost crushing it and dragging her behind him. She tried to wriggle her hand free but Arjak's anger had gotten the best of him. "Ciara, that pompous little shit looked like you broke his heart once. Do you know him from somewhere?"
Ciara tried slowing her pace to give herself time to think. What was Arjak trying to say, that she was somehow to blame for this? Arjak insisted on keeping a pace that she could barely maintain as she tried to stay in step with him. Know him? Ciara had never even seen him before let alone know him.
Frustration rang clearly in Arjak's voice as he said the next words "We need to get back to the others, and we need to get the blazes out of this bloody sand-pit." His pulling on her was beginning to border on hurting her hand. Suddenly, Ciara froze. She'd had enough of being pushed, poked and pulled at for one night, even if Arjak was among those who were doing it to her.
Coming to a complete stand still thereby forcing Arjak to stop she then jerked her hand from his vice like grip. "Arjak of Al'dun, I do not know what type of manhandling of women that you are accustomed to, but I assure you that I need not be drug behind you through these streets, and that I am more than capable of walking beside you."
Ciaras olive eyes flared. Arjak was not the only one who was angered by the nights events.
"And to answer the question you never gave me time to answer, the answer is NO I do not know who that man was." Ciara took a moment to catch her breath, studying Arjaks face, realizing that her previous words had cut into him, possibly even having angered him furthered. Under other circumstances Ciara probably would have softened her tone and used her reasoning, which normally did work on Arjak, but this night she did not. As though she were dealing with a child who had thrown a temper tantrum, she stood, feet firmly planted with her arms crossed in front of her.
Ciara had her fill for one night and would not move one step further until the Norgard calmed down. Arjak's eyes seemed to flare, his pulse quickening as Ciara's words cut past his thick skinned ego and in to the soft flesh of his insecurities. He was angry and such words were not helping to smooth over the turbulent seas of his emotions. The boat that was his common sense and restraint was on the verge of vanishing beneath the waves.
"Ciara..." Arjak started, his tone very crisp and heavy with irritation. He physically bit his own lip to keep himself from spurting something offensive or stupid. "I apologize..." he tried to say without growling, "I thought he was going to take you, and the mere thought is worse than a nightmare." Arjak finished, doing his best to restrain himself against the raging storm of emotion within Arjak's heart.
"I... Sometimes I do not know my own strength, or what words fly from my mouth absent thought when a passion grips me. I didn't want to risk losing you..."
"Ciara" Arjaks tone with her made Ciaras blood boil and she bit her tongue but just as quickly the tone changed and softened considerably.
"If you wish to not lose me, then do not act as if you own me, Arjak." Ciaras words came much softer but still slightly laced with anger but the look then on the Norgards face calmed her even further and Ciara lay her hands on his shoulders, looking him directly in the eyes "If you wish me to walk behind you, then I will, as your servant, Lord Al'dun; but if you wish me to walk beside you as your mate, then allow me to do so." What Arjak had underestimated was Ciara's pride. She was a prideful woman who would not be ordered about, for any reason, one whom had a mind of her own. But when it came to those whom she loved, she would give her very life if need be.
Ciara's warm hand squeezed the Norgards arm lightly "We must stay strong, united Arjak. For the sake of all, we have to help the others bring this to an end." Ciara leaned up, brushing Arjaks cheek softly with her lips then whispered in his ear "And for both of us, Ajrak."
(a co-op with the lovely mysti)