Torrin was taking a midday nap when the alarm warning of an enemy attack went up. He struggled to get out of the pallet he'd
“You sit tight, kid, ya hear?” Morina ordered, hustling over to him. “You ain't moving from here.”
Morina, I have to. We'll lose if I don't.” He pushed himself to his feet and hurried to get into his uniform. He studiously
ignored the pain in his side.
Morina harrumphed. “You're in no condition, son.”
He knew that even better than she. Physically, he could hardly walk. Magically, he was back up to about fifteen percent. He
wouldn't be able to help much, but he could still help, and he would.
Who's fate would he decide today?
He faltered as he left the tent, fearing the errant thought he'd had. He hesitated, then saw injured men pulling themselves
out of the tents and forced himself to continue on. Their lives would be judged. And his. No one had the right, but to survive,
humans would do anything. He had done the same, that day that he had stolen from his parents to survive.
When he arrived on the battlefield, the enemy had already broken through the fortress' door. That had never happened before.
Men were being felled right and left. There were shouts from the rafters, only parts of which he could actually distinguish.
“Men to the east, coming through the spruce trees! They were hidden there!”
“Attack from behind! Taking down the walls!”
“Enemy to the west! Enemy to the we-aah!”
Torrin watched in horror as a man fell from the rafters, an arrow in his chest. More men from the tents were coming forth
to fight, only to be quickly cut down.
“How did the enemy get in?” he questioned, horrified.
“They've been out there all day,” a soldier near him explained, and Torrin jumped, not expecting an answer to
his question. “They've been in the trees hiding. And then cannons just firing, aiming at the door. They took it down
before any soldiers came near us,” he finished with disgust.
Torrin noticed that the man was clutching his side. It was soaked in blood. “You should go to the tent,” he advised.
“No sense in it,” the man said wearily. “We're all going to die before this day is out. I'm going to die
with honor, taking some of these bastards with me.” And the man leapt back into the battle.
Torrin was shaken by the man's fatalistic viewpoint, but feared he may be right. The enemy was easily pushing their small
force back and bodies were quickly littering the ground. The energy around him was increasing so rapidly...
A man fell beside him, and an enemy soldier turned to him. The man swung his sword in an arc that could easily sever his head.
He ducked in reaction, scooting away from the man. He felt adrenaline course into his system, numbing the pain from his ribs.
He found himself channeling energy without conscious effort, giving himself the strength he needed to dodge the next attack
and clumsily hit the man. The energy made the hit strong enough to knock the man out.
He channeled more energy and sent it out, but it was a useless cause. Even he could see how far they'd been pushed back. And
whatever energy he was going to send would almost have to be solely for himself to help him continue dodging the enemy. He
found himself in the thick of the battle then and found himself a constant target. He couldn't fight. He had no weapon, and
even if he did, he knew nothing about how to use it. And he was running out of magic.
He struggled to escape the enemies and get back to the tents, but then a loud cry rose up amongst his fellow allies –
the back wall of the castle had crumbled.
He heard the horn blow signaling retreat and tried desperately to obey it. Men were all around him, though, and he couldn't
escape. An enemy sword nicked his left forearm before he could avoid it, and the best he could do was struggle away. His magic
was officially gone.
His right shoulder was grabbed from behind. He turned in alarm. Morina, in a white medic outfit, was pulling at him and ushering
him back. He thoughtlessly followed, too panicked to make his own decision.
Morina pointed at his chest, then hers. He looked at her blankly until she pantomimed unhooking buttons one-handed. She was
telling him to take off his uniform. Underneath was a white medic shirt, only because he'd intended to stay in the medic center
and couldn't get anything else. If he took off his overshirt, everyone would think he was a medic and would pay no attention
to him, just like Morina. He hurriedly did as he was told.
When his shirt was gone, Morina pulled him gently around the medic tents, two of which were already burning. He watched in
horror as a medic walked into a burning tent, more willing to die in the fire that risk a slow death or capture.
Morina clucked her tongue at the sight, then turned his head to look at her. “Torrin, son, I need ya to pay attention,
hear me? I'm getting you outta hear. This ain't no place for you to die.”
“Why?” he rasped, and was surprised that the word managed to get through the knot in his chest.
Again, Morina clucked, and then her eyes locked meaningfully on his. “Because I like ya, kid. Now don't go asking questions
when you get out. If the enemy finds you, try to act like one of them. They're murderers, the lot of them, and you won't survive
if they know ya ain't from their border. Got me?”
He nodded numbly, and she pulled him against the wall when a soldier came after them. She hit a brick by their heads –
a brick that was very out of place on the wall – and the wall behind him began to shift. The warrior cried out of rage,
but Torrin couldn't see him. Morina shoved him as soon as the wall behind him was sufficiently gone. He stumbled before he
regained his footing. He looked up and could finally see the warrior from behind Morina's large form. The man's outfit was
red. A Coran. The man shoved himself forward suddenly, and Morina buckled. A sword adorned her stomach, glistening with blood.
Torrin looked back up at her eyes in horror.
She smiled, even as blood dripped down her chin. She continued holding onto the sides of the wall, blocking the way to and
from. “Run, kid.”
Her words acted as the string of a bow, shoving him back from her, from the battle within the fort's walls, into the forest
around them. He ripped his eyes away from her, but he could feel her energy around him now and knew too well what had become
With blind eyes, he ran into the forest.
Since the generals were used to charging forward blindly, he let them lead the frontal attack. Since there was more tact necessary
in the attacks from the east, west, and north, he had led each of them himself. Strategic openings were now being made, allowing
some cowardly Stravians to run for freedom – and their glorified coddle trees. Two men had already been caught.
Within the forest, Coran soldiers were waiting for more Stravians to arrive. There, they would be tortured for information
about the best route for the army to travel. If there was something this army knew how to do, it was hurt people.
He had yet to receive any injuries beyond a few bruises that will form from taking hits to his armor. He was one in about
about ten men in the army that wore armor; most either thought themselves invisible (or at least stronger than the enemy)
or was just too poor to afford the strong metal.
He could afford it, and he wasn't foolish enough to discount luck as a possible enemy. Her was strong, damn strong, having
trained himself night and day to get stronger. But even the weakest enemy, with the right amount of luck, could fell him.
It would be utter foolishness to not wear the armor just because he was skilled.
Behind him, a twig snapped. He reigned in the horse he'd been riding. Charger was a strong black stallion that had already
seen battles before. The horse had heard the noise as well and had stopped immediately at Darian's silent command.
He slipped from the saddle and threw the reins over Charger's head. While Charger bent down to grab a quick bite to eat, Darian
slipped towards the sound and pulled his sword from its sheath.
The person was running, and haphazardly, too.
Darian snuck after it, silent in his pursuit. The person didn't seem to be running for the nearly group of coddle trees, which
confused the prince. Only a Stravian would be running, but the captured prisoners were simple proof that the trees were retreat
stations. Was there a place that he had missed?
The thought angered him enough so that his knuckles went white around the hilt of his sword for a moment. It made him all
the more determined to capture the escapee.
In short time, he caught a flash of white before the ducked behind a tree and disappeared again. The man's speed made no increase,
but was fast enough for Darian to be unsure of the Stravian's level of ignorance to the chase occurring. Darian kept his pursuit
as quiet as possible.
He caught another glimpse of the enemy – this time he recognized short, wild blond hair – and then the man darted
around a pine and disappeared out of Darian's view again.
Belatedly, he realized that the man he followed was not wearing the Stravian uniform. The man's shirt was the white that he
had seen. The Stravians wore a uniform of dark green; the medics were the ones who wore a simple white shirt. That way they
could easily be viewed as neutral and be left alone. Of course, his father's army would cut them down anyway, the bloodless
bastards. No wonder the man ran.
With the way the man constantly tripped, Darian could safely assume that the man was scared. Therefore, calling out would
make the man freeze and would five him time to catch up with the medic.
“Hey!” Darian shouted when he again saw the man through a break in the trees. In an instant, the man turned to
face him, and Darian almost froze in surprise himself.
It was not a man, but a boy. The hair was a shimmering golden color, his eyes sky blue. His body was light and lean and a
bit pale, as if he were not often out of doors. He was beautiful.
Darian forced himself into motion, knowing that he didn't have much time before the boy could bolt off.
The boy stumbled away, but Darian managed to grab his wrist. The boy stopped cold.
The boy's eyes were horribly wide, his breaths heaving. The eyes were glazed, as well. The boy was panicking.
“Calm your breaths and make no sound.” Darian was suddenly wary of anyone else finding them. If one of his soldiers
came, or one of his generals, the boy would be killed without question. And even if he's gorgeous – the white shirt
was loose, but he could still make out a small, firm chest and stomach – he was a goddamn medic. Medics were not to
be harmed. If there is any punishment to them, it should be to heal the enemy's wounded.
The boy's fear had only seemed to increase. “I... I'm not-”
“I know you are a mere healer, boy,” Darian told him, keeping his grip firm on the boy's wrist, For some reason
though it would be best for the boy to escape, he couldn't let go of him. He did not want the boy to disappear. His instincts
screamed at him, telling him that this boy may somehow be important.
He never questioned his instincts.
“I-I mean no harm,” the boy told him, his eyes still wild. His voice was like honey.
Darian looked him over. The arm he had grabbed had taken a cut, and blood oozed slowly down it. While he heaved, he leaned
slightly towards himself, as if in pain. It seemed his ribs may be bruised.
“You seem more harmed than harmful,” Darian quipped lightly, trying to ease the boy's fears. A young, injured
medic. His terror was well-felt. The boy had every reason to be as scared as he was.
The boy's wrist jerked under his palm, trying to test Darian's strength. The boy seemed intimidated by it, but the fear had
temporarily been replaced by anger. The anger had put more life into those pretty eyes.
“I do not wish to harm you, but you are to accompany me back to my camp.”
The boy was frightened even more by these words. “I have seen you slaughter simple townspeople,” the kid declared
finally. Darian felt the skin he held tremble.
“I was not a part of that massacre,” the prince said truthfully. “I do not agree with what occurred that
day.” His words seemed to shock the boy, but the fear was only replaced by wariness.
Darian truly had no idea why he was telling the boy these things, but at least the kid's immediate thought now was not to
The boy's breathing was still a bit quick when he spoke again. “Why do you want me to come to your camp?”
Darian smiled grimly. “You will assist our medics in healing our men after our victory.”
The boy snarled. “I will do no-”
“It is either that or death, little medic,” Darian growled, his grip becoming firmer. The boy winced. The blood
from the boy's wound touched Darian's hand. He ignored it.
The boy tilted his head proudly, but his lip trembled. “Then kill me.”
Darian's eyebrow quirked in surprise. “Do you know how an enemy dies if he is captured by the Corathian army?”
The boy shook more fervently now. Darian knew very well that rumors of the Corathian army circulated wildly. And that they
were not wildly exaggerated at all.
He pulled the boy closer, finally allowing himself to note how smooth the boy's skin was. Almost like a girl's. The boy stumbled
closer to him, then caught his breath in pain. When the medic clutched his side, Darian believed his suspicions confirmed.
He caught the boy's other wrist and pulled him even closer, until the boy's arms were behind him, still held firmly by his
The boy's eyes shot up to his own. Fear and confusion and unease swirling within that beautiful sky that was his eyes. Darian
felt himself get very interested. Garridon was nothing to this beauty. He was eager to take the boy to his bed. “What
is your name and age, boy?”
Long eyelashes flickered over his eyes, a sign of confusion that was almost endearing. “I... My name is Torrin.”
“Torrin.” Darian repeated the name, tasting it on his lips. “A fine name.”
The boy stiffened. “What are you doing?” Torrin finally demanded. The boy again struggled to get his wrists loose,
but Darian's grip was like iron. Torrin's eyes again met Darian's, this time in anger. “Let go of me.”
Darian's smile was more carnivorous than humorous. “No.”
The boy snarled again, tugging at his captured wrists. Darian pulled him in a bit further, until the boy's wiggling made their
skin brush together.
Finally, exhausted, the boy ceased his struggles. His breath came in ragged gasps that made their chests come into jarring
contact. Darian found himself almost blinded by lust. He had never lost control of his senses before. The fact that he couldn't
see straight angered him.
But he didn't let the boy go.
“And how old are you, Torrin?” Darian asked, leaning his head down. Torrin was a bit short in height, probably
about two or three inches below six feet. Darian stood about a half-foot above him.
The boy's lips were scant inches from his own. The urge to eat up that space and those lips was almost overpowering. Darian
exercised every ounce of his self-restraint in keeping even that small distance.
Torrin, for his part, seemed all kinds of nervous, yet the boy seemed almost oblivious to the heat that sparked around them.
“I am ten-and-nine,” Torrin told him, and surprise rode through Darian's system. Torrin licked his lips nervously.
Darian stared at those lips as one might an angered snake – with awe and trepidation. “Ten-and-nine? You look
no older than ten-and-six.” Somehow, that fact made the boy even more alluring.
The boy glared in indignation. Darian laughed.
“Now, now, little healer, don't get feisty. Besides,” he said, suddenly turning serious, “if you create
trouble for me, I may not be willing to do to such lengths to save you.”
The boy tensed even further. Apparently he knew blackmail when he heard it. “How dare you,” the boy hissed, but
his struggles were as useless as they had been. They gave Darian an excuse to pull Torrin's body against his own. The flesh-on-flesh
contact was electrifying. Darian could feel sparks shoot through his body.
The boy's – perhaps not boy, Darian thought belatedly, thinking of the boy's true age – body bucked wildly against
Darian's, throwing their pelvises against one another. Darian groaned.
Torrin finally stopped moving against him. Darian decided that he'd had enough. Without warning, he pushed his weight against
Torrin and made them fall to the ground.
Torrin didn't know what to do, what to say, or even who he was supposed to be. He'd been running blindly through the forest,
thinking of nothing but escaping the Feel of Morina, joining the dead that littered the ground around Fort Shiro like rotted
twigs. He had been aware of nothing in his haste to escape.
The shout had sent his nerves flying, and he'd been left in a state of fear and confusion since. Who was this man? Why had
he followed him? What did he want?
And the man had pulled him him forward until bodies had touched. The frisson of heat that shot through his body was unknown,
terrifying. It was like standing out in the middle of a storm, only he was a part of it. He found himself become erect and
was horrified by his body's actions. He'd never gotten an erection with a girl, even when they kissed, but he got an erection
when pressed against a man. A Coran warrior. He felt sick and guilty, like he was betraying his parents, his friends, and
He struggled futilely to get loose, unwilling to let this continue. Desperate to get away.
And then suddenly he was falling to the ground, the warrior on top of him, crushing him beneath that firm, bulky chest. One
of the warrior's legs curled around his, pulling it to the side. The man's crotch rested firmly against his. He could feel
the heat of the warrior's dick even through the fabric of their clothes and his armor. A warmth swam through him, leaving
him weak and helpless as the Coran nestled himself more firmly against Torrin's chest and crotch.
“Get off,” Torrin ordered, pushing against the warrior's chest. It was like pushing against a wall.
The man's answer was to reclaim his wrists, bracelet them, and hold them high above his head. He was opening his mouth to
cry out when the warrior placed his free hand over Torrin's mouth. “Do you want to call the entire Corathian army? Would
you rather be with them, seeing how long and how loudly you can scream in pain?”
Torrin had heard many stories of the Coran's malicious games, the tortures they placed on a body just for the pleasure of
causing pain. Corpses would be dumped, mauled and tortured until the body could no longer be recognized. And the screams said
to come from their camps were so horrible as to make the heavens tremble in fear.
Fear clogged Torrin's throat until he couldn't breathe. The thought of facing such a future scared him more than even the
destruction of Levant. And this man, this man with the shoulder-length black hair and dark, dark brown eyes, was going to
take him to those men. “Why?” he whispered. “Why are you doing this to me?”
A strange emotion pasted over the warrior's face before it quickly disappeared. “Damn your Stravian blood,” the
man cursed, his voice rough. The warrior's fingers trailed across his lips and down his neck, leaving a path of fire in his
wake. Torrin shivered.
The man growled suddenly and gripped Torrin's neck threateningly. “I am not the kind of man to ignore what I want,”
the warrior told him. Torrin could think of nothing to say, feeling helpless with his wrists held captive above his head and
his neck being held in a hand that could easily take his life. He had no question about the Coran's strength; the man's muscles
rippled beneath his uniform.
“However,” the warrior continued, “we are in the middle of a battle, and I cannot afford to shirk my duties.
You will come with me as my prisoner, as a medic, and as my catamite.” When Torrin began to protest, the warrior squeezed
his neck in warning. “If you do not, I will feed you to the Corathian army. Do you understand?”
Blackmail. The man was blackmailing him. Torrin felt fury rise within him, a welcome relief from the fear that had dominated
his actions lately. He couldn't even consider giving himself up, his virginity taken by a man he didn't even know. A Coran.
But he was in a position where he had no right to choose anything. His legs were spread just enough to allow the warrior comfortable
access to his groin. His arms were high above his him and his neck held precariously in the warrior's hand.
“Well?” the man demanded. The thumb on his neck caressed his pulse, making it skidder. His heart flipped; his
“S-Stop,” Torrin whimpered, moving his head to the side to try to escape the touch. All the warrior had to do
was squeeze his throat a bit to stop him. His traitorous body shivered as the caress continued.
“Stop? That wasn't one of the choices I listed.” The warrior leaned down until his lips brushed Torrin's. His
breath was warm and enticing, smelling of hot bread and tart mints. The man was of a high rank, yet Torrin saw no insignia.
Going against this man was not a good idea, but Torrin would not be a concubine. He just prayed that he would die with a semblance
of dignity and honor. “I will not be your whore,” Torrin rasped, then shut his eyes, unwilling to face whatever
wrath his words would incur.
“No? You would rather face the army's pleasure? Do you truly believe that they will not take you? They're always interested
in a good fuck, and you are pretty. You would not be under my protection. And it would hurt a lot more.” The caress
continued, threatening to steal away Torrin's senses. He almost felt guilty for feeling this way with a man, but the pleasure
left no room for guilt.
“I...” He tried to speak, tried to keep his head clear. He had to speak. “I cannot lose my self to you,
no matter the cost.” The caress paused for a moment. Torrin thought to breathe a sigh of relief before a nail lightly
scratched at his throat. Fear was back, tightening his body like the string of a bow.
“Cannot or will not?” the warrior asked softly. Torrin's heart slammed painfully against his ribs. For the first
time since they had fallen, Torrin felt the twinge of pain from his broken ribs and the wound on his right arm. What other
injuries was he to face?
Cannot or will not? Torrin didn't know. “Both,” he whispered. For what other answer was there?
The nail scratched him again, and the breath got just a touch warmer. Torrin opened his eyes in shock, recognizing what the
He saw the warrior's eyes watching him as their lips met. A tongue came to touch his lips, pushing at the part between them,
urging him to open his mouth. He couldn't refuse the need that rose in him, a need he'd never felt before. It was overpowering.
Insane. The warrior's tongue slid in immediately and devoured him. He heard himself moan, felt his eyes close. When the warrior
turned his head to deepen the kiss, Torrin accommodated him mindlessly.
The man pulled back, chuckling. The deep-throated sound reverberated in Torrin's mind. He struggled to bring things back into
focus. When he opened his eyes, he found himself being studied by a sardonic Coran. Guilt and shame suddenly roared through
him, mortifying him. He had just said he would not be a man's whore, would never give himself over to this Coran. And yet,
right after making this proclamation, he lost all control during just a kiss. If the man had continued, would he have struggled?
Oh, gods. He didn't think he would have.
“I can see that you are a man of your word,” the warrior said. Torrin would have had to have been worse than a
fool to not catch the man's sarcasm. It increased his anger and his shame.
And how dare he feel such a way about his enemy. A man from Corath, a man whose friends had slaughtered the people of Levant!
Whose own hands may be stained with the blood of his mother and father.
He glared at the man, at his tanned skin and high cheekbones and the elegance that shone in every line of his face. Why did
he think this man beautiful? “Get off of me,” he demanded again, hoping that this time it would be obeyed.
“I hear no 'please',” the warrior said, his face so close to Torrin's he thought he could still taste the warrior's
tongue inside him. A part of him was still trapped in that moment.
His arms were still held above him, his throat still captured, his legs still parted. He couldn't think of a position more
vulnerable, especially with his injured ribs shooting twinges of pain each time he breathed. It didn't help that his breathing
was labored. It was a position that allowed no such word as 'please'. “Go to hell,” he said instead.
“Hell?” The man smirked. “Will you come with me, my little medic?”
Torrin wanted to spit in the man's face, but thought better of the idea. He may be angry now, but he was never a fool. “I
may enter Hell, but I won't share the same fate as you.”
“Oh? Are your hands not stained with blood?”
The catch in Torrin's breath made his ribs sing. Torrin hardly felt it. Yes, his hands were stained. He may not have
swung a sword or knocked a bow, but he had killed men as surely as if he had led a charge against the Corathian army. He
had already known it, but being told of it by this man was absolutely inexcusable.
“I may have killed men in this war, but I have never raped or tortured my enemy!”
As soon as he said it, Torrin realized his mistake. This man thought of him as a medic. He had most likely been referring
to the people he'd lost while trying to treat them. Torrin may have just gotten himself into a lot of trouble.
“Oh?” the warrior said, his voice light. Torrin wasn't fooled. He could see the hard edge in the man's eyes as
he pulled himself up a bit, could feel the hands digging into the flesh beneath them.
Torrin thought quickly. He could think of no way to save himself. He would be thrown into the hands of the Corathian army.
After they were done, his body would be left for the vultures to pick at what was left. The thought was terrifying.
The warrior's eyes were inscrutable. “And exactly who would a medic kill?”
He heard the skepticism in the word 'medic' and cringed. What could he say? His only experience with being a medic was that
short stint helping after he'd been injured in the last battle, and the only one he'd helped that had died was... the one
who committed suicide. He still couldn't understand why the man had done such a thing. He may never understand it. But then,
he couldn't understand the pain of a lost limb.
He looked up at the man above him, wondering if he would have done the same. This man was powerful. He probably had family
who would care about him. Hell, Torrin had no one now and still he did not want to die. If he had lost his arm, his ability
to write, to do so many simple things, would be lost.
“Well?” the warrior demanded. “Or have you killed so many men that you cannot remember their faces?”
No, Torrin remembered that man's face. “Light brown hair and gray-blue eyes,” he whispered, 'but the man had been
healing just fine.” He didn't want to think about the time he had gone back, only to feel the energy that is only accessible
from the dead. He didn't want to remember that, or to think of all the Corans he may have killed, or had a hand in killing.
Those men's faces he had never seen. He could almost trick himself into believing that he had not killed them. But that man,
who Torrin had spent hours trying to save, using up more of his magic than was wise. That man had been with him last,
and Torrin had seen his face. It was much more personal.
The warrior seemed to be confused now. “Healing?”
Torrin started, unaware that he'd said anything. He had to think back. “There was a man who lost his arm in the latest
battle,” Torrin told the Coran, almost unwilling to speak. Like it would be sacriligious to the man's memory. Or like
it was too personal a subject. “I healed him. He was getting better.”
The warrior seemed to be struggling with something. “What happened?”
What right had he to tell what happened to that man, to judge his actions? In a war, choices like the one that man had made
were always chosen. Was it just because the man had been an ally? If a Coran had done it, would he be as upset?
Torrin looked to the side beyond the warrior's shoulder to the forest beyond. He had enjoyed walking into the forest sometimes,
to sit and read with a quiet that can never be achieved with human life pressing around you. The forest was never quiet, but
it was peaceful. Torrin always felt like he was venturing into an uncharted world. A free world. His father had laughed at
him when he'd said that at the dinner table one night. His father had laughed a lot.
“Well?” the Coran demanded again, snapping Torrin back to this time period. Torrin entered it with a rush of pain.
His father's laugh was gone forever. The only person near him now, whose presence could be both his salvation ans his destruction,
was this man. This man, a Coran warrior with eyes that could pierce through a man into his soul. “What happened?”
What kind of life awaited Torrin? What kind of world was he about to enter? His mother had told him that his world would change,
and he would not be able to stay a simple editor for long. She had not known how right she was. He did. Who was he to question
the future? A man, a mortal man, could never comprehend the answer.
Torrin took a deep breath. The world was spinning beyond his control. He could no longer be the young man who left parents
each day to go edit stories. He was no longer the boy contracted into a desperate army. He was adrift. Alone. The only road
he could travel was forward, with this man. A Coran warrior.
He had to move forward, even if he moved blindly. “The man killed himself. I guess he thought that, without an arm...”
And suddenly the warrior laughed. The husky sound made Torrin's heart beat so fast he thought it would burst from within.
He blamed it on fear.
“Is that it?” the man chuckled. Torrin felt immediate anger at the man's careless words. He opened his mouth to
make a smart retort, but the man merely moved his hand up from his throat and covered his lips. “My, you're sensitive
one, aren't you, little healer?” The warrior shook his head. “Well, come on.” He pulled Torrin roughly to
his feet, still braceleting his wrists. As soon as Torrin stood, he pulled his body away as far as it would go. Still, he
could feel the warrior's weight upon him as if it were still there. His cheeks flushed in shame and fury and fear. He still
had no idea of where his future was heading, and that fact scared him.
He was dragged through the forest, back towards the fort and the battlefield. He wondered if the battle still raged. He wondered
of what exactly he would do. Would there be other prisoners like him? Would they give away his secret?
The fear was back, along with the urge to run. His eyes flickered over to the warrior, then back to the ground. The Coran's
steps were large and long, seeming to devour the earth beneath them. Torrin had to struggle to keep up. Even so, his feet
seemed drawn to every root and fallen branch on the ground. The warrior always just tugged him forward when he stumbled, sometimes
even lifting him when he seemed to fall behind.
What would happen to him once he reached the Corathian army's camp? Morina had told him that the Corans were a bunch of murderers
who wouldn't let him live if they knew he wasn't one of them. But this man had spared him – so far – and hadn't
yet stabbed him or, really, done much worse than feel him up or threaten him.
And, if he were honest with himself, he would admit that the man's touch and taste had been... Torrin shut his eyes letting
himself be led blindly by his enemy. He would not admit how good the warrior's touch had been. It was a betrayal to the memory
of Morina and his parents and his country.
But his parents were dead, as was Morina. And his country wasn't his anymore.
Oh, gods, Torrin thought wildly, what is to become of me?
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