If you have read the Valespian Pact, you might recognize the names of Prince Mestor and Warlord Sohm'lan. Mestor is Zeus's brother, the hothead of the twins. Warlord Sohm'lan is Emperor Valdor's (Zeus's father) best warlord.
Within the confines of Bespoken and the books following, Mestor and Sohm'lan have a rocky relationship that weaves through the plot. The tension between the two of them started before Azaes and Mestor left Atlainticia to bring Zeus home. There are going to be a couple of flash fictions for Mestor and Sohm'lan that span Striker. There are things that happen in the background between the two that I'd originally planned to be for my eyes only. I typically write character pieces that help me come to know the person so when I write them into the main story I have a good grasp about who they are and what came before. This time around, Sohm'lan kept talking to me which lead to today's flash fiction. Again, I'd only planned two flash fiction stories, but as I was writing part two yesterday, I realized this little side story might be three or four parts. So I'm just rolling with it.
For those who haven't read Alpha Trine and Striker, you can read this as is but I didn't going into detail about the people or the situation on board The Gorgon. So there is a chance that you'll be lost since it relies heavily that the reader already knows the main stories.
This is unedited and copyright by me. Enjoy!
This is unedited and copyright by me. Enjoy!
Sohm'lan sat in the lounger, the lights of the cabin dimmed. The other warlords would be rising soon to start the day. The Monticore would be readying for a shift change. Prince Mestor… Sohm'lan surged to his feet and began pacing.
He had done the right thing last night, turning the prince away. For a year now, Prince Mestor had been increasingly aggressive in his pursuit. If Prince Mestor wasn't careful, people would begin to notice how the prince circled him as if he was getting ready to make a declaration. Sohm'lan could not allow that. Prince Mestor could pick from the eligible of any noble house and yet, every time Sohm'lan turned around Prince Mestor was there in Sohm'lan's space, breathing his air.
At first, Sohm'lan thought it was an itch the Prince was looking to scratch. He was twice Prince Mestor's age and though he was still in his prime, there wasn't any reason for Prince Mestor's attentions. The palace abounded with rumors of Prince Mestor's voracious appetites. He had no need to search out a lover when they flocked to his bed unbidden. That Prince Mestor persisted when Sohm'lan had ignored all of his overtures spoke of a stubbornness that Sohm'lan knew all too well. Prince Mestor had started going to bed alone, turning away lovers who decorated his sleeping platform like flashy limpets, causing rumors to circulate like wildfire. Sohm'lan listened as people speculated why the prince made the change, wondering who had caught Prince Mestor's attention.
When Prince Azaes selected Sohm'lan for this detail he had been both relieved and happy. Relieved to have a reason to put some space between him and Prince Mestor, and happy to lay eyes on Prince Zeus once again… thenPrince Mestor announced that he was coming as well.
Then last night Prince Mestor had cornered Sohm'lan as he returned to his cabin after late meal. The barest swish of the tail sweeping against the floor had given gave Prince Mestor away. Sohm'lan had sidestepped and with a twist grabbed the uniform and shoved the person sneaking up on him into an alcove. Sohm'lan was in no mood for games and had planned to dress down the foolish warrior who thought attacking him would be fun… until he registered he stared into Prince Mestor's expectant gaze and not that of an ambitious recruit.
Sohm'lan quickly released Prince Mestor's uniform as if it burned him. "Prince…" He stammered as he went to take a step back. With a snarl full of frustration, Prince Mestor lunged and Sohm'lan found their positions reversed. His back was pressed against the wall and Prince Mestor leaned into him, the corner of his lip curled. The moment thickened with tension as Sohm'lan stared back at Prince Mestor, waiting for what the prince would do or say. He could not remember the last time Prince Mestor attempted to ambush him. It had been at least five years.
"Why do you not touch me?" Prince Mestor finally asked. "Why will you not engage? I have signaled I am amiable to more and yet you look past me as if you see nothing. Are you otherwise entangled? With someone no one knows about?"
Sohm'lan blinked, not surprised by the question but still confounded that Prince Mestor hadn't already devised the answer. Prince Mestor was many things but he wasn't thick in the head.
"I do not participate in bed play for entertainment," Sohm'lan replied, spreading his palms flat against the wall, wishing for something to hold onto because suddenly he itched to smooth out Prince Mestor's wrinkled uniform.
"Neither do I," Prince Mestor replied. When Sohm'lan lifted his brow ridge incredulously, Prince Mestor suddenly smiled and his countenance turned breathtaking. "Now, that is," he amended with a mischievous grin. "I have given up frivolous bed partners. Have you truly not seen my efforts?"
"Don't call me that. Say my name. Just my name."
Sohm'lan refused to be informal with Prince Mestor, it would only spur him on, encouraging whatever mad idea that was brewing behind that arresting gaze.
"I'm ready to settle, to build a nest." Sohm'lan met Prince Mestor's probing gaze again, those sunrise yellow eyes so familiar and yet not. In all of Prince Mestor's life, he never looked at Sohm'lan as he had this past year, as if Sohm'lan held the key to a great treasure.
He realized Prince Mestor was waiting for response. "I am happy for you."
The fierce scowl returned to Prince Mestor's features. "What is that supposed to mean? Happy for me?" Prince Mestor gave an indignant hiss.
"The court young have been clamoring for years, waiting for the day you would choose one of them to stand by your side." Sohm'lan held his breath when Prince Mestor snarled and pressed his body hard against Sohm'lan's. His lips pulled back to show needle sharp teeth and black gums.
"There are none among their number that I would tie to me. You on the other hand…"
For the first time in decades, Sohm'lan panicked and shoved Prince Mestor away with enough force that he stumbled back several steps. "Do not bring me into your games! I will not be a part of it. If you are wanting to bed someone older than go somewhere else."
"Is it Zeus then?" Prince Mestor said as Sohm'lan stepped out of the alcove and brushed by him. "Is it he the onw who holds your heart? Even I can see he has chosen the Dar Massaga."
A swell of pride filled Sohm'lan at the thought of little Zeus. "Don't be ridiculous," Sohm'lan snapped. "Zeus is like a son to me."
Prince Mestor's thunder-filled expression brightened. "Then your heart is unencumbered?"
This time Sohm'lan snarled because the question brought up unwanted memories. He had not worn the black veil for years, but the memories of what had been always tore him asunder. He hiss- clicked a warning, signaling the peril Prince Mestor had unwittingly uncovered. Without replying, Sohm'lan spun on his heel, leaving Prince Mestor standing there in the middle of the corridor. He did not look back, only prayed to Poseidon that Prince Mestor had the good sense not to follow him.
Once behind his locked cabin door, Sohm'lan sagged against the wall, his legs no longer able to bear his weight. The memories of his beloved took him away to a time when he'd been the happiest. When life had been filled with innumerable, wonderful possibilities. Then he recalled how it all had been taken away when his beloved and unborn passed into the fade.
Sohm'lan had spent the evening and the long agonizing night sifting through his recollections, unable to sleep. When he lost his Niobe he allowed himself to publicly mourn the allotted time and then packed up his heart, even as he continued to wear the black veil for another two years.
The day Empress Ashari gave birth to twins, Sohm'lan's life had changed once again. Emperor Valdor had summoned him to the nursery. As soon as he'd entered the room, Empress Ashari placed the two youngling's in his arms. His protest stuck in his throat when he looked into two sets of beautiful yellow eyes.
"As I thought." Emperor Valdor grinned. "I will announce to the court you have accepted our offer to be our sons' Water Father."
Sohm'lan had not been foolish enough to tell his ruler no. That night he'd finally removed the black veil of mourning, putting it aside so that he could in turn be absolutely everything the younglings needed. Over the years he had been their father, brother, friend, mentor, and when needed, disciplinarian, first for the twins and then for Zeus.
He stopped pacing, tired but filled with purpose. Ignoring Prince Mestor had not dissuaded him. So Sohm'lan would speak with him and explain why he could not be what Prince Mestor wanted, what he needed. Then Prince Mestor would understand and turn his attentions to another.
With the course of action decided upon, he approached his cabin door. His com beeped.
"Switching Prince Zeus over," the bridge's communications officer announced.
When he heard the click, he said, "Prince Zeus, how may I help you?"
"Could you please come to Dargon's quarters? An incident has occurred. Azaes, Mestor, and I have returned from the Waters of Poseidon injured. The medic is on her way here, but there are Monticore outside. If they smell the blood, they will react without question. I do not have the strength—"
Sohm'lan started running the moment Prince Zeus said Mestor's name. His heart pounded in his ears to the rhythm of his pounding feet. "I am on my way."
He sent up a hurried prayer to Poseidon that the three--that Mestor--was not mortally wounded. He did not think he could endure the loss of someone else he cared for.
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