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Bladimir watched as his cousin walked away a sigh leaving his lips. Why was Demetri doing this to himself? It seemed that heartache was going to be the outcome of this pairing. Both of them were important figures in their government and army. They could not go back and forth because they were both constantly needed in their country. Then there was the fact that Bladimir did not know about northern culture but he was pretty sure Xarkus needed to produce an heir. Demetri did not unless the crown prince died and the second in line also died but there were ways around that which included a harem. Still Bladimir felt that Demetri should not get so invested in a northerner that will eventually leave him. Sighing the man patted the neck of the horse and made his way down to distribute orders to his fellow officers. He had to let his cousin make his own mistakes simply because the man would never listen to him.
Demetri returned to his tent and frowned when he did not see Xarkus but soon figured that Xarkus was out telling his men the plans. Moving through the tent he found the bundle of scrolls and correspondences waiting for his full attention. Pulling out a chair he sat down at the small chair and opened the first letter.
Mother informed me that you will be returning to war but this time you would be working with General Xarkus. I hope all will go well between you two because if I recall properly you were put into one of many black moods because of him. It was painful and annoying hearing you grumpily stomp around the palace whenever you returned from the front lines. It was even more painful hearing you drunkenly complain about the General and if I recall “that amazing ass”. Excuse my language dear brother. That was not the point of me sending you a letter. The fever broke two days ago and the doctors said I will be fine in the next few days. Sadly it would seem that I am one of a few who has survived the plague. Even Mother has succumbed to it along with Sara. It worries me. The doctors had me moved to the Villa but Mother and Sara remain in the palace. I have been informed that they will be fine but I cannot help but worry. Lady Isolda is with me also. Your mother wishes you the best of luck and that she begs for your forgiveness because she was not there to see you off. But she says a ride through the eastern woods was worth missing your departure. Anyways, I shall finish off because I fear I am just rambeling. Good luck Demetri! Do your best to be nice to Bladimir and General Xarkus and if you must do go after “that amazing ass”.
Demetri choked when he read his brothers letter. He had no memory of ever getting drunk and telling his little brother about Xarkus’ amazing ass. All the general recalled was admitting to being attracted to the general but never saying a thing about his ass. Sighing he dipped the quill into the ink well with the intention of telling his little brother off.
Xarkus grinned when his proposal was accepted, he wouldn't like being the reason why the army would be delayed. The spot where Demetri had left a kiss tingled a little as he watched the male leave to inform Bladimir. The prince however, had pretty much disregarded the 'do not do anything stupid' part of Demetri's request. As soon as the Sun general was out of sight, Xarkus was up, swinging his legs over the side of the bed. He shivered a little as his previously blanket covered skin made contact with the cold air. With one arm, he fumbled to open the clasp and lid of his trunk but eventually managed to don thicker robes and furs.
He had decided that now his soldiers were here, he would need to check up on them every so often as their commander. And of course to announce that they would be leaving in a week and that they had to get along with the Sun.
After a few wrong turns, honestly the tents all looked the same, he managed to get to their camp. Night had fallen and flickering fires lit up the area in an orange glow. His men sat around on logs, eating, drinking or talking in good company. Xarkus smiled a little to see them enjoying themselves, waving back when a few noticed their general was among them. He didn't stop to talk to them though, his lieutenant was his target.
"Evening Lukas!" He called out when he found the man sitting with other officers. "How are the men faring?" Lukas got up to meet him, rolling his eyes and running an exasperated hand through his hair at the sound of his overly loud general.
"What are you doing here Xarkus? Weren't you supposed to be healing in your tent with that cuddle buddy of yours?"
"Oi, oi, can't I be concerned about you and our men? Besides Demetri will be more than that when this war is over." He chuckled a little, it was nice to hear Lukas' deadpan snarking again. His lieutenant only raised an eyebrow with a sceptical 'hmph'.
"Well I also came to tell you that we will be leaving in a week. Hopefully that would be enough time to be able to coordinate our armies so that they would be able to work together."
Lukas nodded in approval. "That should be enough time. There has been no trouble with the men so far, but if they perhaps consume too much alcohol on a night such as this one, their reason may be clouded."
And as if the mere mention had set off the event, voices could be heard raising in the distance until it had become full blown shouting.
The images of destroyed villages filled his memories. All of the villages near their border had been destroyed. Once ancient cities now laid as rubble with no life in the land and the Sun did not even bother rebuilding these cities. Only outpost remained to assure that no one from the North came in uninvited. Shaking his slightly to dispel the memories of complete and total devastation. “A week it is. I will inform Bladimir that we will remain for a week. Do not do anything stupid while I am gone,” he said with a soft smile.
Xarkus did bring up some good points. If they stayed long the West would know about the advancing army and would have time to stop them but one week was not too much that they would have enough time to prepare. Grant it they would learn about the advancement but would not have the proper time to react. With that in mind he gave the injured male one last chaste kiss on the cheek before leaving the tent.
Sadly his intention on returning soon was foiled. Bladimir was not in his tent or the main fire. A sigh left the princes lips as he looked high and low for his cousin just to come upon the man in the very last place he was going to look; with the horses. “There you are you elusive bastard,” Demetri said as Bladimir fed a horse an apple. “I have been here since we showed the moon’s troops to their place. But how can I help you cousin?” The male asked not even looking over at Demetri.
“We will be remaining here for a week. Xarkus injury has put him out of service for a month,” Demetri said, turning to return to his tent. “Demmy, what is the nature of your relationship with General Xarkus. You let him touch you as if you two were lovers but if I recall you refuse to pick up a lover while on the field. What changed?” Demetri stopped for a moment a frown on his face. “I don’t know. I do not object when it comes to his attention but instead enjoy it. If this was not the field I would not hesitate to take him as a lover but I am hesitant to take the relationship we have any further for the time being. All you need to know is there is a mutual attraction and until it is safe I will not take it further then some cuddles and kisses.” With that Demetri began his walk down the small hill to return to the injured man in his tent.
Xarkus smiled, basking in Demetri's gentle touch as the other general gives a small kiss. The three weeks would do good for their men to get over previous animosity. Perhaps they could do some joint training exercises. It did irk him however that his own carelessness may have played a part in their delay.
"Three weeks would help the army work together and we would be stronger. But the enemy would also have more time to prepare. They are on their own turf and would have the advantage. Once we are out of our territory the supply chains would be hard pressed to provide enough food and ammunition." He could recall the times where the Moon had pushed into the Sun territory only to falter at the lack of supplies and be driven right out again.
"It would be easiest to let them attack us… but after the last war, we decided never to let our towns become battlefields didn't we?" Houses on both sides were looted and burnt. Women became prizes to rape. A wake of devastation was left behind by their armies. He swallowed at the thoughts he would rather not have revisited but continued. Xarkus had not been the best example for his men.
"Therefore if we are to make the first strike we must hurry. The element of surprise would have been lost already."
Xarkus was the most serious he had been since arriving in camp. It was a matter of war and he was determined to win it with the least casulties on their side.
"Let us leave in a week."
It seemed that for once Keaton was correct about something though he did fail to do anything about it. At less he only had a few more years until his retirement or hopefully he would be killed in battle. As cruel as that sounded Keaton had become the bane of Demetri’s existence. Every time he was sick Keaton would care for him and it included pain and leeches. To say the least Demetri had developed an over the top hatred for leeches and would not let any doctor near him if they wanted to do some blood letting.
Leaning over when he heard that there was to be no kissing, well kissing by being pulled into laps, Demetri pressed a chaste kiss to the male’s cheek. “You will be fine in no time. Though I do think we should stay here for those three weeks. It gives the men time to interact and hopefully make them less likely to murder each other while we are in enemy territory,” he said as Alaric finished up.
Demetri was more or less putting off leaving his homelands only because he did not wish to deal with the cold. Plus there was some mild concern about Xarkus’ safety seeing how the man would be helpless if the slipped into enemy territory before the three weeks time was up. Looking up at Xarkus he awaited for his fellow general’s agreement or disagreement so that he may give Bladimir a time when they would be leaving this camp.
He pouted a little at the loss of contact, but even he knew that they couldn't stay entangled together all day and so did not complain. Xarkus didn't like it when Demetri fretted though, there was enough things for the prince to be concerned over already.
"Don't stress over it, even if the doctor was questionable it should be fine." Again was the false bravado. He couldn't show weakness in front of them. Truthfully though, he was hoping the injury was light and would heal soon so that he would not be useless in a battle. He hated not being able to fight.
"May I, Sir?"
Xarkus smirked a little, at least this Alaric was more polite then the last doctor; that smug bastard. "Yeah sure." He gingerly held out the arm for examination, feigning an air of nonchalance, he always considered himself a decent actor.
"It's not too bad actually." Alaric was surprised, it seemed Keaton was fairly capable of diagnosing, just not so motivated to treat illnesses. But from the way the way the Moon general flinched during the probing it seemed like it would still be a problem. Much as Xarkus would like to hide it, his body was held still as if trying to stifle any reactions, the doctor could still feel every twitch beneath his hands. There was swelling, stiffness, bruising, all obvious signs of a fracture.
"I'll just bandage it up properly into a sling and it should heal on it's own in about a month." He turned to rummage through his kit, bringing out bandages to do his job with. "But no strenuous activity until at least three weeks, is that clear sir?" The last comment from Xarkus came to mind and he had a wry smile on his face as he added, "and that includes kissing or other similar activities."
The Moon prince only groaned, a reluctant 'yes' muttered out as he let his arm get bound up.
It was sad but true to say that Demetri had not been shocked when he was pulled into Xarkus’ lap and felt a pair of lips pressed against his. He, however, feared to admit it but he actually enjoyed such attention from his former enemy. Not once in his wildest dream did he ever dream up that there would be any attraction between them but here before him he could see it. As enjoyable as the attraction was Demetri also knew he should be appalled by it only because most of his kingdom would be if news got out. There were many raw wounds that the Moon had left behind and some, no many, would not take well to this little development.
“Good,” He replied after the kiss, about to say something else when Alaric walked in and interrupted them. An annoyed sigh left Demetri’s lips as he tossed the healer a half annoyed look. He expected the man to take longer and not find them in this little predicament but it would seem the healer did not care. At less that added to total to two people who could give a rat’s ass on what was happening in Demetri’s tent.
Permitting himself to be pulled closer he relished in the feel of Xarkus’ chest pressed against him all while his eyes were trained on Alaric. “I fear he will be committing several acts of stupidity in the near future just for a kiss,” The Prince said letting himself be held for a moment longer before regretfully wiggling away so that Alaric could examine the arm. “Keaton inspected the injury last night but I do not trust his judgment,” He said taking a seat right next to Xarkus.
Alaric had a perfect understanding why Demetri did not trust Keaton’s examination. The man, though his elder, was not the best healer in the world and preferred the “Cut it off” action or the “leech” way. Both methods not needed unless in the direst situation and to Keaton that was always. “May I, Sir?” He asked moving forward and gesturing towards the injured arm.
He waited in the soft furs of the bed, comfortable and growing a little drowsy. Xarkus closed his eyes slowly, but a familiar voice roused him to excitement again. Demetri.
"I hope the accommodations are sufficient enough for your men." Xarkus grinned, the dear Sun Prince was always so considerate. Sitting up to face Demetri properly, he grabbed a hold of his arm, pulling the other into his lap.
"Of course they are." He assured, the camp area was spacious with enough ground to set up tents and keep training areas. It was very generous for two former enemies. With a cheeky smile he pressed his lips to Demetri's, their teeth clacking together gently, different from their more desired filled kisses of earlier. It was short, sweet, Xarkus breaking away to speak again, smile still in place. "A thankyou kiss for your kind concern."
"Ahem." A light embarrassed cough drew the Moon prince's attention to a newcomer in the tent. "Sir, it seems General Xarkus is feeling quite well. The arm doesn't appear to be ailing him at all. " Alaric was watching the two in amusement, tone teasing. Meanwhile Xarkus cursed himself for forgetting about the physician, but it didn't matter too much did it? After this war, he wanted to declare their relationship to the whole land! Smirking, he pulled Demetri closer possessively.
"My arm doesn't matter if it's in order to kiss Demetri."
Alaric turned as he heard he light cough coming from Demetri. The youngest Physician smiled at his lord and pushed away the long strands of golden hair. “Can I borrow you for a moment Alaric? General Xarkus’ arm should be revaluated especially since Rylan was his previously used physician,” Demetri said crossing his arms against his chest waiting for the young man’s response.
Versus Alaric and Rylan the prince trusted Alaric the most. The young man knew what he was doing and was invested in not only making medical procedures better and safer but also the peoples health; holding no bias for his patients. Rylan, on the other hand, was an asshole who was just getting off easier and avoiding direct combat by staying behind the lines. Not only that but he did not care at all for his patients, having no passion for his job.
The physician gave Demetri a brilliant smile. “Give me a few minutes and I will meet you in your tent, sir,” Alaric said as he turned his back on Demetri to finish up the task of reorganizing his tools. “Thank you,” He said as he left the tent to get to his own tent in hopes it was a bit warmer in there.
As he walked there he caught sight of Bladimir talking to their blacksmith; giving the man a small nod he managed to slip back into his tent and was faced with the ever amazing Xarkus. Moving over to the bed he stopped in front of the male, “I hope the accommodations are sufficient enough for your men.”
He looked around the tent his soldiers had set up for him in their camp area, simple canvas walls but so much larger then the ones that would be shared by a few men at a time. Truth be told, it was going to be his tent in name only. A rolled up sleeping mat was in one corner while two wooden trunks sat in the other. Xarkus supposed he should at least keep up the farce of staying in this tent.
Picking up the bedroll with one hand, he realised that the other still hung rather uselessly by his side. The more he dwelled on the fall, the more he wanted to smack himself for being such a fool, though of course that wasn't possible in his broken armed state. Frustrated by his helplessness, the angry arrogant streak in the young prince burnt again. With a short grunt he threw the bedroll to the floor, placing one foot on it as one might do when beheading an enemy. Determined to undo this rebellious bedroll he ripped the rope off with his good arm, releasing the material and watching it unfurl with satisfaction.
Now, slightly calmer, and in a much better mood, he opened the trunks to collect some items to move over to Demetri's tent. The war armour he had deemed too heavy to wear, the circular shield he hadn't bothered to keep on him, the heavy long sword that would usually be scabbarded beside the daggers that bumped against his thigh as he walked. But also he brought more furs seeing how the Sun prince curled up in the warmth like a cat. At the sight of the gifts he had brought over from his kingdom, he gave a small smile. Those he would save for the dinner date.
He strode in fast steps unnecessary for the relative peace so far. Setting up his possessions in their tent, he waited on the bed for Demetri's return, having completely forgotten about the physician.
Demetri watched as Bladimir stepped into the tent first and came out five minutes later battered. An eyebrow arched upwards at his cousin’s obvious failure to calm Baldwin down. “You try! He is built like a bloody tree!” the officer complained as he rubbed the bruise on the side. “Go speak with Felix. I will deal with Sir Baldwin and then I will be in my tent,” he said as he ducked into the tent.
Eyes swept across the older man who was pacing the small tent. When Bladimir said Baldwin was built like a tree he was not joking. The man towered over Demetri and had rather broad shoulders with his build and no bull shit attitude the knight was very hard to talk with be Demetri could manage. “Baldwin. BALDWIN!” He called snapping the soldier out of his thought. “What was the point of starting a fight with Felix?” He asked watching the Knight stop.
“He was spouting lies about King Gavan!” Baldwin said eyes on fire. That was all Demetri needed to know about how this came to be. Baldwin was three years younger than Gavan and had been the King’s lover, or so many speculated. Very few knew the truth and Demetri was not one of them but he figured the rumors of old were true. “Sir Baldwin...I was not alive during the Civil War but it is over now. I expect you two not to fight again while we are at war. Now resolve your differences for one day Felix’s arrow may save your life. Or just stay away from each other. Regardless I expect both of you to cause no more problems. I there are more problems from you two I will discharge you both. Now excuse me but I have other things to do Sir Knight.” Baldwin blinked a moment then shook his head. “Of course sir,” he said having no intentions on resolving their differences but he would avoid the male.
With that Demetri left to find one of the many physicians they had dragged along with them.
Xarkus smiled at Demetri's reply. The other male was too adorable. He was inclined to be protective over him but knew the Sun Prince was perfectly capable of looking after himself. In the battles they had fought before, neither had yielded, sometimes Demetri even had the upper hand. The fights only ending with the retreat of one of their armies.
"You heard what he said. Come on men." With some grumbling, the tired soldiers gathered up the belongings they had dropped and began following Xarkus and Demetri to the back of the camp. Demetri pulled Bladimir ahead to speak with privately. Xarkus didn't give it much thought. He quite liked Bladimir and would mind having him as a cousin in law.
After they reached the camp grounds Demetri spoke with him. “Meet me in our tent as soon as you can."
"Sure," he replied, grinning at the 'our.'
Catching Lukas in the crowd, he waved him over for a private conversation as well. "I know the men will listen to me and cooperate with the Sun, but, if there is a lot of dissent, please let me know. I don't want a mutiny."
"Of course my lord, you don't have to be concerned. We are all loyal. Your relationship with the Moon prince however, is questionable." Lukas was always very blunt and Xarkus cringed a little at his disapproval. "You can sleep with people all you want in the peace time but this is war."
"It's fine okay?" Nothing was going to deter Xarkus, he had been waiting years for this opportunity.
"If you say so." Lukas was sceptical but didn't bother pursuing the matter. He at least trusted Xarkus not to lose his common sense over this. Turning to rest of the soldiers he began to give out order, "quick with the putting up, after that's done you’re dismissed to do as you wish for the rest of the night!"
Xarkus smiled as his men cheered at the prospect of free time. With a content sigh he started walking over to Demetri's tent, he was finally starting to remember how to get around the camp.
Demetri’s men already knew the drill when it came to the moon’s army. Having heard the same lecture four times they knew that they had to cooperate and at less act friendly towards their once enemies. If they fail to do so they would have to suffer Demetri’s wrath. No one would risk such a thing either.
Glancing over next to his fellow general a small smile played on his lips. “Of course,” he responded in a soft voice. There was no way he intended on kicking Xarkus out of his bed. Being one for cuddling he liked having a warm body next to him, especially one of an attractive man. Looking behind him he saw Bladimir moving over towards them with some paper in his hand. “Lots 420, 498, and 505” The officer said looking towards his cousin. Demetri gave Bladimir a small nod. All three spots were towards the back of the camp and had very little in between them. All in all the troops would be safe to do whatever they wanted in their little space. “Follow me then,” he said as he dragged Bladimir up with him, further ahead of the group. “I want you to get our physician and send him to our...I mean my tent. After that I will speak to our two trouble makers,” Demetri said.
Bladimir had a large smile on his face when he heard his cousin say ours. Personally he liked Xarkus a lot more than the last few guys Demetri had been with. Not to mention he knew his uncle would accept them being together if they got together. Which meant no more cousin attached to his hip and he could finally pursue a female he was interested in. Oh he was going to make sure the two men came together.
Coming to a stop in the empty spots he turned to the army. “This is where you will be. Now do forgive me I have some men to deal with,” he said stopping in front of his cuddle buddy. “Meet me in our tent as soon as you can,” He said in a soft tone before leaving.
Xarkus smiled as Demetri arrived and ordered the crowd to disperse. "This is their general, Prince Demetri of the Sun. Though I assume all of you are quite familiar with him besides the new recruits." The comment about the Sun and Moon's previous battles raised a few dry chuckles but also murmurs of dissent. The Moon prince's eyes hardened in displeasure. "I expect full cooperation between both our armies."
"How can we trust the Sun?" A brave or stupid soldier piped up, earning a murderous glare from Xarkus. How could that idiot say that in front of Demetri?
"Alone, we don't stand a chance against the West. The enemy of our enemy is a friend." That seemed to have satisfied most of his men. Though they had been told before the importance of this alliance, in fact they had a full lecture from his father. But old grudges ran deep, many would have had friends or brothers that were lost in the war and so it would be difficult to work with the side that did that.
Turning to Demetri he whispered so that only the two of them could hear. "Could you show them where to set up their tents? I don't really know my way around the camp yet." He admitted sheepishly. "I trust I can still stay in your tent tonight?" Xarkus gave a small smirk, implications clear in his words. Straightening up he turned back to the waiting soldiers. "Okay men, get up your possessions, Demetri's gonna show us where we can set up our tents?"
A rather large sigh escaped Demetri’s lips as he came towards his officers who were trying to end this little problem. “Why did this start?” The general asked, eyes drifting over to his cousin who was now pushing their way to the main problem. Bladimir looked over at his cousin for a moment before responding, “Old grudges. A man from Lord Korba’s court who fought in the civil war ran into one of Xanny’s man whose family fought against the crown in the war,” Bladimir responded not understanding himself why it was such a big deal. The civil war happened before he or Demetri was born but the wound was still raw with some of the nobles. Xanny, which was actually Alexander, had been on the other side against the royals where as Lord Korba was extremely loyal to the crown. After a few arguments a whole war broke out before the Royals could do anything about it. In the end King Gavan was dead and Demetri’s father came into power for he was the second male born.
Demetri bit his lower lips and nodded. Those two groups needed to be kept away from each other. Stopping in the front he watched as the two men began to draw their swords.“Enough!” Demetri yelled. Both men froze instantly, hands hovering at the hilt of their sword and eyes intently place on the General. “Collins escort Sir Baldwin to his tent and he is not permitted to leave said tent until further notice. Emmet please take Felix to his tent also and the same applies to him. I will talk to them later,” With that Demetri spun on his heel, making a quick retreat to the entrance of his camp. Bladimir was at his heels, not agreeing how Demetri put off knocking the two men around but did not say a thing. Instead he just forced his way through the curious crowd.
Carefully picking his way through his men he finally came to the front of the crowd but blended into his men. The moment he saw the accompany of old men DEmetri instantly knew he did not wish to deal with this and would rather be yelling at the two idiots. Sadly he could not put off dealing with Xarkus’ army especially with Bladimir nudging him harshly with his elbow. Taking a deep breath Demetri took the final few steps to be in front of his men. Turning his back on the other army he looked over the curious faces. “Get back to work,” He commanded knowing that much needed to be done. Slowly the crowd began to thin out as some of the guiltier offenders, the blacksmith and cooks, disappeared to work. Watching them leave he forced himself to put a smile on and turn to the group. “Welcome,” he calmly said as Bladimir disappeared also to make some arrangements for the other army.
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