Fiction~~Ice Wind's Bride~~Ch. 7
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Chapter 7 - The Eternal Garden?
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If the afterlife were a betting matter – and what wasn’t? – then Bey
would have laid odds against making it into the Eternal Garden. Not
that anyone would have taken the bet.
Everyone knew Bey was going to hell.
He wasn’t the sort to take precautions against that sort of thing. And even if he’d wanted to try for the Garden, he wouldn’t have. Bey had never considered the option available once he’d passed the age of eight. There were certain things that couldn’t be undone. Or shouldn’t be, no matter what price you paid later.
So it was a shock to realize he’d made it in.
He felt bodiless and limp – in all senses of the word – but a small kernel of warmth inside his chest was reawakening his senses, because Silva was here. Here with Bey. The only place Silva was going after death was the Garden. Uptight, a little prissy, with a code of morals that shadowed his every move?
The Garden for certain.
So Bey must have made it. He could smell the man next to him. Bey hadn’t even realized how familiar that scent of sweet mint was, but he recognized it instantly. Silva was right next to him. Touching him.
What his fuzzy mind couldn’t figure out was how they’d ended up together. What colossal fuck-up had landed Bey here? A miswritten passage in the book of life? Maybe he’d blown one of the Gods while they were on earth in disguise, and this was the reward?
If the gods were going to come down for a good bit of oral, Bey would be all for it. Hell, he could suck cock as naturally as most people ate their suppers. Eat pussy better than the boy whores on the quay.
Could be one of the Gods had heard about him.
Bey felt Silva’s fingers over his stomach, pulling something together over it, and his body tightened. He dropped the pointless concern to focus on what really mattered: Silva the tease.
He’d been touching Bey for…minutes now? Hours? Silva had moved Bey’s body around at first, raising his hopes, and then stopped. His hands had skimmed across Bey’s arms, over his chest, stroked up and down his legs. They’d fumbled at his groin – ice princess obviously still wasn’t used to the different set of privates.
Bey sure as hell wished he could feel it as more than misty fingers brushing just once over his cock. Silva plus Bey’s groin was a combination he didn’t want to miss. Silva’s hands moved up his chest and Bey wondered why those pale fingers weren’t heading the other way. He felt them brush over his own hand and moved, gripping them sluggishly.
It took nearly everything he had, but he pulled it over his groin.
Silva shifted, hissing at him. “Bey, stop it. Now’s not the time.” He pushed Bey’s arm back down by his side.
Not the time? They were still together and Silva had been touching him. What better time could there be?
Pretty boy better not assume that being in the Garden was going to keep them from having sex. It would be just like him to get caught up on some strange notion of afterlife propriety. Maybe he thought dying broke their marriage contract. All that ‘until death’ shit to be dealt with. Silva might be thinking the sexual part of their friendship had died along with them.
Too damn bad.
Bey had made it in with Silva. No way was he wasting that. They still had a hell of lot to try, yet. A hell of a lot. Heat spread across his ghostly, numbed skin. His fingers tingled. He had to touch Silva now.
Bey tried to move again and got another soft hissing in his ear. “Control yourself, Bey. You can’t do that here. Not yet.”
Bey ignored him and reached blindly with one convulsive grab. It took all the strength he could muster to latch on to what he thought must be Silva’s pinky. His hand fell. With a small grunt, he nudged the small digit toward his dick again.
“Don’t do this, Bey. Not now. You have to control yourself.”
Silva’s pinky pulled free, but not because Bey let it go. It was just too damn hard to hold on when he couldn’t even feel where his limbs were. The miniscule effort to tighten his grip diluted the heat in his skin, sucking it away and leaving him numbed and bodiless again. Silva murmured something soothing near his face.
Bey’s mind fogged and a comforting lassitude took over. He’d figure it out. Being a spirit looked like it was going to take some effort, but nothing he couldn't deal with.
Silva wasn’t going anywhere.
Bey lay in the darkness inside his own head, quiet, listening as Silva began to blather. The sound of his voice washed over Bey like heated balm, no meaning to it yet, but…comforting. It felt so familiar. Almost like they were both alive again. Silva was always disgustingly active after a night’s drinking while Bey slept in like any normal man would.
Strange. If he weren’t so sure Silva had been killed…
Bey pushed the sharp pain away. They were both here. Focus on that.
Maybe they’d have even more fun now that they were dead. He’d have to test out Silva’s ass first thing. See if it was as tight as it had been when he was alive. Go deep in the Garden and find the perfect spot.
What would the man look like, spread out among the flowers, all icy skin and silver hair?
Silva’s voice slipped into his ear, clearer somehow, and broke the daydream. Bey listened, enjoying the bright sound, even though Silva made as much sense as a free tup from a whore.
“The pain is temporary, and the weakness should pass soon. It’s only that… you’re not made like one of the tribesmen. It’ll pass, though.”
Bey smiled to himself, floating, latching onto the words and letting them slip through the fog in his head. Yeah, he wasn’t built like one of the tribesmen. If they were anything like Silva, he had one important advantage.
His cock was thicker.
“Show you,” he mumbled. His mouth was as numb as his mind, but he made it move for him. He’d bet they had moss-covered walls in the Garden, too.
Silva’s fingers ran over his head, the sensation weak and faded. “Shhh. Quiet.” The words were close to Bey’s ear, almost inaudible. “Don’t speak unless you’re spoken to. Act like you’ve been gagged, Bey. Fool them. And hold on to your temper, understand?”
Bey thought of Silva when he’d been tied up in bed, gagged and naked and hot as hell. He could do gagged again. His cock rose instantly.
“Lecher.” Silva’s voice lacked the anger that usually went with the insult. It sounded almost fond. “We can’t do that right now. Listen.”
“Mmmmm. C’mere.” If Silva would just come close and stay there, this would be so much easier.
“Dammit, you’re still floating.” Silva’s whisper ended on a frustrated sigh, then grew in volume. “I am sorry about this. I want you to know that. But better me than Shivar.”
Bey managed an actual frown. It twisted his face as he felt something settle over his mouth and nose. Like Silva was pulling a sheet up over his head.
Like someone was covering up his dead corpse.
“No.” His voice emerged in a pained whisper.
You didn’t cover up corpses in the Garden; you covered corpses in Varlan. What was Silva doing? They’d been speaking. Silva knew Bey wasn’t dead. Not that Silva could be alive, but…
Were the priests wrong after all, and hell was trapped in your corpse for all eternity? Maybe Silva wasn’t even here. Maybe it was all part of his eternal punishment. “No…” Fabric fluttered against his lips.
“Shhh. You can curse all you like later. Keep quiet now. Quiet, Bey, understand? Bear with it a while longer.” The words were coaxing, not Silva’s usual style at all.
But he was definitely talking to him. He was there, and he did know that Bey was alive. Nothing made any sense, but Silva hadn’t left without him.
Silva whispered again. “Control yourself when you wake, Bey. I need you to do that for me. Can you remember that? Control. And no talking. Remember.”
Bey didn’t like the note in Silva’s voice. He sounded worried; there shouldn’t be any worries after a man died, not a man like Silva.
What was going on? “C’ntrol.” Yeah, he could control himself. He’d get rid of his numbness and make his body get up. Then they’d take care of whatever was bothering his lover. Bey and Silva together could kick any ass that needed kicking. It didn’t matter where they were, they could still do that, just like they had from the moment Silva joined the guards. “I c’n do that.”
“You’ve finished dressing him. Leave the tent. Now, Silva.”
“I need a few min-” There was the sound a blade being drawn and Silva cursing.
Bey’s heart pumped heavily, forcing thick blood to move through his veins instead of pooling like molasses in his limbs. He knew that voice. He knew that…that cock-sucking, son of a whore’s voice. Silva’s brother!
The numbing softness over his body lost it’s comfort and transformed into invisible spider’s webs that held him down. He had to get to Silva. He had to make sure that son of a bitch didn’t kill him again!
Bey could hear the metallic scraping echo dully – was another blade being drawn or sheathed? What was that doll-faced bastard doing to Silva?
What the hell was going on?
The fight to get his eyes open and his limbs mobile dulled the sounds around him, but not enough to ignore completely. Silva cursing, metal scraping against metal, and the heavy sound of fabric shushing against limbs. Light pricked brightly against Bey’s eyelids.
And suddenly there was nothing. Light and sound disappeared.
“S’lva?” Bey couldn’t hear him! “No…”
He’d been right there! Bey hadn’t expected to hear Silva talk ever again, not after that shot to the back, but he’d been right there. No shrunken pizzle of a man was going to stop that voice again. Not while Bey was with him.
With a moan, Bey pried open one eye. Feeling rushed into his limbs and nausea animated his stomach. His eyes took in the world around him with a rushing roar of confusion and pain. Breathing hurt, moving made his muscles bitch like an underpaid whore, and the middle of his back was a hot, throbbing ache.
And he was staring up at the underside of a crude, animal skin tent. “The afterlife is a tent?” Whose insane joke was this?
Without Silva’s minty flavor, the air smelled like sour sweat, metal, and musty fur. A pile of furs supported Bey’s back. Weight on his arms and legs turned out to be shackles wrapped with fur. And…what going on with his clothes? The clothes he’d died in were gone and they’d been replaced with…with the same shit that Silva’s family had worn. Long, shapeless pants that strangled his ankles, and a tunic so long that it tangled far past his knees.
It felt like he was wearing a damned dress. But even that didn’t change the sensation of feeling alive. Bey couldn’t understand it. He’d felt himself die. He’d damn well felt it. And Silva as well. They’d both been hit.
But this resembled nothing so much as a Northern tribesman’s tent and aged furs. And his body knew the ‘I’ve been beaten’ feeling intimately, down to the taste of bile in the back of his throat. He stared, trying to get his bearings and figure out how to move again.
A few pieces of leather armor were against the side of the tent, looking like they needed oiling. A couple long daggers that required the care of a good blacksmith lay next to them. Men’s voices filtered in, interrupted by what Bey would swear was the jingle of a bridle. A black beetle crawled along the edge of the tent looking for a way out.
It was all so normal it was eerie.
He nodded to himself. So be it, then. If the world was going to act like he and Silva hadn’t died, Bey wasn’t going to argue. Shackles, he couldn’t do anything about those yet. But he could get one of those weapons – better a broken weapon than none at all – and then he’d go get Silva.
Taking in a deep breath, he choked and had to spit out a mouthful of cloth. He’d forgotten about that. “What th’ hell is this?”
He startled as someone actually answered him.
“Not used to the veil, are you?”
The voice came from behind. Bey rolled over quickly onto his other side to face it, then sat up. His muscles whimpered in protest.
Two lanky silver-haired men stood inside the tent’s entrance, swords at their sides, with a blue and gray uniform bound tight to their wrists and ankles. Bey looked them over and a slow fury built inside.
He knew that uniform. They were definitely at ease, but trained. Their swords looked well cared for. Their clothing was the same as Bey had last seen outside his room in the barracks. Silva’s people. “Who the hell are you?” He needed names.
He needed to know who to come after if he couldn’t finish them off here.
The older one answered him. “Fyodar. And Alik here.” He grinned after a moment of looking Bey over. “And you must be the shy, timid bride Silva was telling us to care for like a tender hot-house flower.”
Bey’s eyes narrowed. Either this asshole was trying to get his goat, or Silva had a lot of explaining to do.
“Where’s Silva, fucker?”
Alik stiffened. “Mind your tongue.”
“Always. I don’t use it on anyone who isn’t as hot as Silva.” Fyodar snorted back a laugh. Alik’s body quivered violently.
Bey gave the angry man an insulting once over from head to toe, but stopped at Alik’s feet. He recognized the silver stitching on the pant-cuff. It had a thread fraying in the middle of one of the silver whorls. He remembered that one, when he’d been memorizing who to go after in hell.
This man wasn’t just part of Silva’s tribe, he’d been in the barracks with him in Varlan. He’d helped hurt Silva.
“If you don’t tell me where Silva is in the next few seconds, I’m going to have you laid out on the floor and begging for death.”
Fyodar chuckled. “You’d better watch out for him, Alik. He’s a bold one. I can’t recall the last time someone had you begging on the floor, unless it was that Frothian flower girl with the huge-”
“Where’s Silva? What have you done with him?” Bey nearly choked again on the fabric covering his face as he tried to raise his voice.
“Don’t worry, little bride.” Fyodar gestured briefly with his hand, smoothing the air in front of him. “I doubt Vasha has beaten your husband. Much. I’d be more worried about what’s going to happen to Silva once he gets back home. That boy is in for it once his father gets hold of him.” Fyodar’s eyes were a particularly sparkling shade of blue, crow’s feet framing them. His braided topknot quivered as he chuckled again.
Fucking bastard was laughing at him. “Where is he!”
Fyodar simply shook his head, grinning, and Alik glared at them both.
They were not going to take Silva from him again, not when Bey could still move. And he didn’t have any time to waste; every second Silva was gone was another where anything could happen to him. Staring hard at both men, Silva’s warnings finally seeped back into Bey’s memory, a little too damn late to be useful: be quiet, control yourself. They mixed with Silva’s usual admonitions before a battle: be careful, think before you act, wait for the right time.
Fuck that. Waiting got you killed.
He rolled away from the guards, quickly, and fell off the furs and onto the ground. His entire body throbbed, making it hard to think past the dragging pain in every muscle, but he grit his teeth and kept rolling towards the broken daggers he’d seen. The veil fwooshed up on the first roll and half-blinded him with pale gray softness. The flaring bottom of his tunic tangled around his legs.
Didn’t matter. He knew where he was going. Even if they stopped him, he should have a chance to grab one of the daggers on the far side. He only needed seconds, and they’d been standing like lazy asses by the door. They wouldn’t catch him in time. If he could conceal it in all this dam fabric, he-
“Oh no you don’t, bride.” A hand grabbed Bey’s arm in mid-roll. Son of a bitch!
Bey’s upward kick jerked to a halt as the tunic tangled his legs even further. He got slammed onto his back for his trouble. He kicked out again, blindly, moving his legs together to compensate for the fabric. His stomach muscles almost gave out, but he caught the man in the ankle. A large body crashed to the ground.
Bey swept out with both feet, hoping he could brain him, and missed entirely. That’s when it blurred into the kind of fighting Bey remembered as a boy. Both of them cursing continuously and wrestling over the tent floor. Bey’s eyes were obscured by the veil, but he didn’t care. He tried to keep the man in tight, where sight didn’t matter and he could smash against his head with the manacles.
But he could feel himself losing ground. Every twist and thrash pulled strength from his limbs like they were sponges being squeezed of water. He couldn’t get on top, his limbs were getting sluggish.
Someone pinned his legs to the ground and reached for his arms. “Stop fighting, bitch.” Alik’s voice.
Growling fiercely, Bey thrashed his head over and bit something fleshy and soft near his face. The other man bellowed. Bey’s head hit the floor as a fist knocked it to the side. He didn’t stop cursing, even when his legs stopped working. Bey could still use his arms. And he didn’t have time for this shit – he had to get out of here and get to Silva.
The heavy bastard had all his weight on Bey’s legs, trying to block Bey’s doubled fists with his arms, when Fyodar spoke. He hadn’t even moved from the door.
“Need a hand?” Fyodar sounded on the verge of laughing.
Bey clenched both his fists together and swung up. He couldn’t see where he’d hit the tribesman, but he felt a good solid connection. Didn’t knock Alik off, though.
“He’s a bit – ugh – feistier than I’d thought Silva’s bride would be.”
“Is that why you’re on the ground?” The voice was closer. Bey had to get free, now!
Bey growled and clenched his hands to swing again. He bucked up just as Fyodar came close. Bey swung his arms and connected with air as Fyodar reached down casually and caught them, pulling them to the ground above Bey’s head.
Pinned like a fucking bug on a board.
Bey’s vision cleared as one of them pulled the veil from his eyes and settled it back down over his mouth and nose. He was left staring at Alik.
The ugly asshole was glaring at Bey like he was a scuttling roach in need of crushing.
“Go ahead and kill me.” Bey pulled back his lips in a vicious smile, spitting out the veil as it stuck to his teeth. “I’ll haunt your pathetic ass ‘til you wish you’d never laid a hand on me or Silva.”
“What dulcet tones.” Fyodar snickered like a damn kid. “I wonder what Silva thinks of them.”
“Where is he!?” Bey yanked at his arms and tried to swivel his hips to buck off Alik.
Fyodar smiled. “Worried, little bride?” He blinked as Bey snarled at him. His smile softened as he searched Bey’s face. “You are worried about him, aren’t you? Now isn’t that interesting.”
“You shouldn’t let him talk like that.” The growl from Alik was just as tight as the man’s face. “He should be punished.”
Fyodar shook his head. “I know, but I’d say this is a bit of an unusual circumstance. I always wondered what Silva was doing.” He looked down at Bey and his eyes sparkled. “Or who he was doing.”
“It’s natural. Now help me get the bride secured so we don’t have to do this again.”
Bey struggled wildly as they started moving, but his body wasn’t listening to him much at the moment. He felt blown, as weak as the last time he’d caught the fever. Alik got off his legs and Bey’s kick was barely enough to phase him.
He squirmed like a wretched worm, cursing viciously as they lifted him into the air and dumped him back onto the furs. Alik held him down while Fyodar fiddled with the shackles at his arms and legs.
Bey didn’t stop cursing as they released him and headed back to the door. His arms were stretched above his head, his legs held down straight, and no matter how hard he pulled, they weren’t moving. Craning his neck, Bey could see some kind of spike embedded in the floor, through a seam of the oilskin, with a loop that secured the chain between his arms. The fucking cocksuckers…
“Where is Silva?”
He’d get out of this. Just give him a few moments alone with them…
“He’s being taken care of properly. Truly. Nothing permanent will happen until we’ve returned home. Then it’s in the hands of his father.” Fyodar shrugged.
Alik smiled for the first time. It didn’t go well on his face. “Don’t think you’ll be allowed to mouth off like this back home, not in front of the Boyor. Silva’s father doesn’t put up with that sort of behavior from the family’s brides.”
Bey sneered, which was damn awkward when he had to lift his head off the ground to do it. “You’d better pray to your gods I don’t get free before we get there, then. Because if you touch one damn silver hair on Silva’s head, I’ll kill you. I will rip your testicles out through your assholes.”
“Silva said the same thing, I believe,” Fyodar said. “The killing. I believe his threat had more to do with simple swordplay and intestines. Yours has a bit more flair. The proper anatomical references are so often overlooked, aren’t they?”
Bey couldn't keep his head up to glare at them. It dropped back to the furs and he stared up at the tent’s ceiling. “I will cut off your dicks and fry them up like sausage while you watch, then shove them down your throats until you choke on your own vomit.”
Fyodar laughed outright. “Oh that one’s even better.”
Alik simply looked outraged. His face tightened, and after a soundless sputter, he palmed his own crotch. “The only time you’d get a glimpse of our cocks is if we’d found you out on your own, bride. We would have shown you what a real man does with his dick.”
Bey would have spit on the floor but the material over his mouth made it impossible. He laughed as derisively as possible, instead. “Yeah? You got a real man around somewhere that would have fucked you up the ass for my entertainment?”
Fyodar laughed as Alik’s face flared red; he held Alik’s arm to keep him from approaching Bey. “No punishment. Vasha really will have your dick for sausage if you touch Silva’s bride. Leave him be. And besides…I like him.”
“He’s got a filthy mouth,” Alik spat.
“That’s why I like him. Reminds me of my wife.”
Bey spouted a few more threats, but they both ignored him. Bastards. Bey’s hands curled into fists as he stared at the ceiling again. He pulled at his restraints. They cut painfully into his wrists, but he didn’t stop. Steady pressure. If he could get that, he might be able to dislodge the peg where it dug into the ground.
And then he was going to take them apart. He wanted them beaten and down. He wanted Silva back in here and touching him again. And safe.
He closed his eyes, turning his head into the furs as he started twisting in his restraints.
“Don’t die on me, Silva,” he whispered. “Don’t you fucking die before I get us out of this.”
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