The Warrior & The Lady

     He watched her. After so many years, that was all he could do. He watched her grow from a sub-servient child, to a faithful warrior, to a wise Lady. And in all his years of watching, what he didn't see was her, stealing his heart.
     Kayura looked over her shoulder and smiled at him. "Cale, you're out early," she greeted. She turned away from the small garden she started raising, and walked toward him. "Couldn't you sleep?" she asked.
     "No, not really." He looked into her dark eyes and almost lost himself. "But I'll be fine. How is your garden?" he asked.
     She lowered her head. She had been watching him too. "Cale, you have to sleep sometime," she said softly. "Why don't you tell me what's bothering you?"
     "When I came here to work for Talpa, I left behind some people very dear to me," he said softly. "I have just been thinking about what might have happened to them."
     Kayura looked at the way he was trying to avoid her gaze. That was part of the reason, yes, but not everything. "I'm sure they have grown, and lived full lives. But you still need your rest."
     "I will be fine," he said in a gentle, but stern voice. He knelt next to one of the growing mountain lilies and felt her stare on his back. One of the things he hated about her was her stubbornness. She simply refused to give up on anything. Once she set her mind to it, it was done.
     That was also one of the things he loves most about her.
     Kayura folded her arms and looked at him. "He has to be the most stubborn man I have ever met!" her mind screamed. "He hasn't slept a full night in over three months, and even then he is still plagued with nightmares. He fights all day, barely even stopping for food. Doesn't he get it? We have nothing left to fight!" Her eyes then narrowed as a plan dawned on her.
     A crafty spread across her lips. "Since you're awake, and the others won't be fore a while, would you mind helping me with breakfast?" she asked sweetly.
     Cale looked at her. He stared into her innocent face and frowned. "What you're up to won't work," he said simply.
     "What am I up to?" she asked as they both stood.
     "I'll help you with breakfast, and when my back is turned, you'll knock me out with something."
     She stood in shock. She then closed her mouth and sighed. "It worked with Dais a few times," she grumbled as she started to walk away angry.
     "Wait, don't go," he said reaching out for her. Since their time away from Talpa, he hated when she was angry with him. "Kayura, I don't want you to be mad."
     Kayura stopped cold. That was the first time in three years that he had called her anything but "Milady". She looked into his eyes and saw something that she wasn't sure she saw.
     "Please, don't be mad with me. I just... just... can't sleep. Why don't you understand that?" he asked. He lowered his head and sighed.
     He started to walk away when he felt a soft hand touch his face.
     "Why don't you understand that I care for you? I'm worried about you, Cale. You've been keeping to yourself more than ever, you barely sleep, you barely eat...." She then reached for one last effort. "What if something were to happen, and we needed all of the armors? You would be useless."
     Cale heard the words, but was struck by the tone. He looked up into her eyes and saw tears threatening to fall.
     "I won't stand by and watch you destroy yourself over something that you may have no control over. I can't." Her eyes widened as she felt his powerful arms bring her into his embrace.
     He pulled away from her speechless. He then walked into the palace.
     Kayura watched him as he disappeared into the shadows. Once he was gone, she lowered her head and balled up her fists in frustration. She then sighed as she walked towards the kitchen. She was more angry at herself than at him, so why should Dais and Seckmet suffer?

     Kayura looked across the field and smiled. The Neather Realm was becoming beautiful once more, and being a member of the Dynasty was something to be proud of.
     The sound of a heavy grunt caught her attention. Out in the farm land, just east of the field, stood Cale and Dais. Both knee high in mud, trying to do something. She didn't know. And from the look on Cale's face when he fell face first into the mud, she didn't want to know.
     "Lady Kayura," Seckmet said softly.
     She turned from the balcony and looked at her friend. "What can I do for you Seckmet?" she asked. It was rare from him to come and see her. They were now civil to each other, and the bad blood that had passed between them had been forgiven, but the bearer of the Armor of Piety hadn't forgotten.
     "I came to talk to you about Cale."
     Without really knowing why, she looked back over to the farm land and saw Cale trying to wipe his face with muddy hands.
     "What do you wish to discuss?"
     "I know of your concern for his well being, and I think you should know part of the reason he has been watching you."
     Kayura lowered her head. Had she been that obvious? Maybe she was bothering Cale and he simply needed to be left alone....
     "He's in love with you."
     She turned to Seckmet so quickly, she almost tripped over her own kimono. "What did you just say?"
     Seckmet raised his hands and lowered his head. "I know it is not my place to tell others of these matters. But as a friend to Cale... and to you... I had to take some type of action. He is making himself sick, and watching you seems to be the only time he is at peace with himself."
     "Thank you Seckmet." Kayura walked out to the balcony and saw Cale slowly making his way inside of the palace. "I'll take care of him," she said softly.

    It was past midnight, and he was finding no solitude in slumber. Cale turned his back away from the door and tried to settle down again. He closed his eyes and sighed restlessly. No matter how hard he tried, there was something slowly picking at his mind, but he didn't know what it was.
     There was a slow creaking sound by the door. His eyes quickly opened as he strained to hear footfalls, but couldn't make out any. All he could feel was another presence in the room, walking over to his bed. Just before a hand touched him, Cale reached up and grabbed the entire arm reaching for him, and tossed the attacking figure onto his bed.
     "Cale!" Kayura gasped as she felt his hands pin her arms over her head.
     Cale looked at her with wide eyes. "Milady?"
     She had never come into his room before. He wondered what brought her here tonight. They looked at each other trying to grab hold of their wits. Without realizing, Cale's eyes traveled Kayura's body and saw that her satin robe had fell open.
     Kayura took a nervous breath as she started to blush. She knew exactly what he was looking at. Her robe had fell open and she was wearing a night shirt too low cut and too thin to be decent. "You can let go of my arms now," she said in a whisper.
     He quickly released her and sat up. "What are you doing here? You're usually fast asleep by now," he said turning to find his own robe.
     "I couldn't sleep," she said lamely. "Maybe you are the only person here with insomnia." She fixed her robe and sat on the bed.
     He smiled. "Or it could be that you were just plotting to have your way with me?" he asked teasingly.
     "Great, first Dais, and now you," she said turning her head toward the window. "Maybe you should all just go to the Mortal World and test out your new flirting talents. I hear Halo is a master at that art."
     Cale looked at her. Her beauty was unsurpassed in the day time, except by her beauty in the glow of the moonlight. "No, I am no where near Dais, or Halo, in that area."
     Kayura watched him as he moved around the room, trying to find something to keep from gazing at her. He was too much of a nobleman to make the first move. It was up to her. "Cale?"
     He turned to her and saw her standing out on the balcony of his room. "Yes?"
     "Do you ever miss living as a mortal?" she asked as he joined her.
     "No, not really. Why do you ask?"
     Kayura lowered her head. "I just wanted to know if there was anything that I was missing. That's all," she said lowly.
     Cale moved closer to her. "There's nothing there, that you can't find here."
     "I'll bet there's one thing," she said looking into his dark blue eyes.
     "What?" he challenged.
     She pretended to think for a moment. "A man who will actually listen to me, without the threat of violence," she said proudly.
     They gazed into each other's eyes for a moment, before breaking down with laughter. As a cold breeze passed Cale noticed Kayura shiver and pulled her into his arms. "I doubt you'll find it there as well," he said softly.
     Kayura stayed in his arms as he held her. "Maybe," she sighed. She looked up into his face  and saw that he was looking at her. There was something in his eyes, the same something that was there that morning. "What is it?" she asked.
     Cale didn't know what came over himself, but the battle he forced onto himself had ended. He leaned down and gently pressed his lips against hers. As he started to lift her into his arms, he felt Kayura return his kiss eagerly. As he stood her up on the floor, he pulled away from her. "Milady...."
     "I like it when you call me Kayura," she said. She then lowered her face as a blush started to play on her cheeks. "Wait, I think I know this part," she said lowly. She prayed that Seckmet was right, and that Cale did love her. "This is where you say a lot of pretty things, make me feel beautiful, and then say you and I together is a mistake. Am I right?" she asked.
     He moved away from her. "You are beautiful Mila..." He saw her head lower. "Kayura. And I do want to be with you."
     "But what?"
     He looked at her. After a few silent moment of staring into those hypnotic eyes of hers, he turned away. "But you have never loved me. As a member of the Ancient's clan, you are destined to be with a Ronin. I'm a Warlord."
     Kayura looked at him in utter shock as she sat on the bed. She then laughed. "Cale, sit with me," she requested softly.
     "Come here and let me say my piece, or... or... or I'll make sure you have to tend the farmlands for another year."
     He looked at her. She wasn't enraged, otherwise she wouldn't have used such an empty threat. He walked over to her and sat next to her. "What?"
     "You may think of yourself as a Warlord, but you are a Ronin. It's true, you have not fought along side them in many battles. It is also true that you served Talpa for hundreds of years. But that is still a Ronin Armor that you have. It was made at the same time, and from the same materials." She touched his face as he lowered his head. She turned his face to meet hers and smiled. "And you are still a man, with the heart of a Ronin. Just because you are rediscovering it now doesn't mean it was never there in the first place." She then folded her arms and sat next to him. "And besides, if you would just open those stubborn eyes of yours, you'll realize that I've loved you for the longest time as well," she said indignantly. Before he could say a word, she stood, and walked out of his room.

     An hour later, Kayura laid in her bed. She felt him coming near her room. She knew it was only a matter of time. "And who said I still can't play mind games," she thought as a smile curled her lips. She heard the door open and close lightly. There were no footsteps toward the bed as she held the dagger under her pillow. She always slept with one there, and if she didn't attack him with it, she knew that he would know that she had planned this all out.
     Before her hand could clearly escape from under the pillow, she found both of her arms pinned to the bed, and Cale's lips covering hers. He slowly pulled away from her and looked into her eyes. "Well Milady, do you think you can love a Warrior that can kill you in your sleep?" he asked playfully.
     Kayura smiled as she looked into his eyes. "Only if you can love a Lady that can do the same, Milord."
     Cale frowned. His eyes widened as he felt a slight prick on his side. He looked down and saw a second dagger ready to enter his side. Kayura's light chuckle got his attention. He released her and sat up. "Are there any more weapons that accompany you in there?" he asked.
     She smiled as she placed both daggers on the nightstand next to her. "I won't say," she said turning her face away from Cale. She drew in a quick breath as she felt his mouth tasting her neck.
     "I'll just have to find out, won't I?" he asked against her skin.
     She laid back pulling him on top of her. "Trust me, it's nothing that will kill you instantly," she joked. She bit her lip as Cale bit at her neck.
     "Ha, ha. Very funny," he whispered before kissing her passionately.

    Kayura woke up the next morning in Cale's arms. She looked up at his face and smiled when she found him sleeping. She had to admit it, for everything that she had ever hated about him, she learned to love in time. Now, they knew they would be able to face anything together, instead of having to learn to deal with it on their own.
     She gently touched his face and watched him lean into her hand. She debated only for a moment weather or not should she wake him. He was too beautiful as he slept. He would probably be his moody self and try going off and practicing until the latest hours of the night when he woke up, just to prove to her that nothing (and everything) had changed between them. She leaned down and kissed his bare chest. She could still taste the sweat of their love making on him. With a sigh, she sat up, careful not to disturb him.
     "Leaving so soon?" he asked.
     Kayura turned to him and saw a clever little smile on his lips. "Go back to sleep," she sighed.
     "And if I don't want to?" he challenged as he sat up. He looked into her eyes and touched her face before kissing her.
     As he got up and dressed to return to his room, Kayura couldn't help but smile to herself. "Nothing's changed, yet it all has," she thought with a sigh. "Cale, do you think you'll want to help me with breakfast this morning?" she asked.