Even in war, we have our own private battles to fight. For Divvy and Varun, it is a war of the heart.
Depths of War - Part Seven
The steady beat of Varun's heart pulsing against her was in stark contrast to the rapid flutter of her own heart. They had managed to pull themselves up and over the rocky shores of the islet and now sat wedged into the safety of a small crevasse. Varun had pulled her close, wrapping his arms around her to make enough room for them both in the tight space.
His nearness both frightened and comforted her. She knew she was safe from the atrocities of the Sena attack as long as he was nearby. But she had been fighting her own war with Varun for months now. Having the attention of the Lord of the Sea was thrilling, but it could also be dangerous. The title had fallen upon him after the brutal murder of his parents in a plot by his uncle to take the title for himself. The coup had been squashed and his uncle killed for treason. But there would always be those who desired power and were willing to kill for it.
Divvy had always desired a simple life. It didn't matter how kind and attentive he had always been to her. And it didn't matter that he was strong, and handsome, and brave. A life with Varun would never be simple. There would be people to lead, politics to navigate, and wars to be fought. With that thought Maran's words came back to her "I was banished. Varun sent me to the nightmare of the depths."
A strong, cold gust of storm fueled wind whistled through the crevasse. Behind her Varun shifted slightly, his arms tightening around her. She felt his steady breath against her cheek. A life with the Lord of the Sea would be dangerous. It did not matter, she told herself, how good it felt being held in his arms. For now though, she allowed herself to ease further into his embrace.
Thunder rumbled but the sky was not immediately lit by the accompanying lightning. "The storm is moving on," he breathed against her skin and she thought she detected a note of regret in his voice. "Light will be returning soon."
"And you will be returning to the fight," her own voice tinged with regret.
"Yes, and I need you to stay here Divvy." Placing a hand on her cheek, he turned her face to look at him. His dark eyes blinked beneath his furrowed brow. "Please do as I say," he pleaded, resting his forehead against hers.
"I will," she promised. A building flutter in her stomach told her she was losing her emotional battle against this Lord of the Sea. He gave her a brief smile before letting her go and working his way out of the crevasse.
A sudden tingling of her scalp had her reaching for him, trying to delay his departure. "Varun," she called as she placed a hand on the blue scales of his tail. When he looked down at her she didn't know what to say. "I," she paused, thinking. "I am glad the twins found you when they left and sent you to me."
Tilting his head to the side, he looked at her with narrowed eyes. "The twins?" His eyes shifted toward the water where they had left the slaughtered Satah. "They were here?"
Her hand twitched, fingers pressing into his scales. "Yes. Ashneer said you sent them to get me."
"I ordered them to the caves, not out looking for you," he roared. "I sent one of my subordinates on that task. Those unruly brats intentionally disobeyed me. Again."
She followed as he pulled himself free of the crevasse. Once atop the rocky islet they stared down to the ruined bodies in the water below. "Were they here for this?" he asked quietly.
"No. When we saw her," she paused, once again wondering at the implications of revealing Maran's presence. "When we saw the Gaharaee surface, I sent them to find you."
Varun's nostrils flared as he asked through gritted teeth, "You sent my brother and sister, children, off alone into waters teeming with our enemy?"
She winced when she saw the way he glared at her. "I," she shook her head and with trembling lips struggled for words. "I didn't think..."
"No," he snarled at her, "you did not."
Hugging her tail to her chest, Divvy watched as Varun plunged into the sea and raced away.
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