“And witness how blissfully happy you are with your almost wife,” James harassed his brother. “You two are sickeningly sweet.”
“It bothers you when I talk of her long black hair shinning as it runs through my fingers.” Oliver knew James hated open expressions of love but enjoyed the twisted expression on his face. “The way her green eyes get misty with passion when I kiss her. Don’t you want to hear about the moans and whispers she emits when we make love?”
It was then that they heard a sword being drawn behind them. The twins turned to see Alan T, weapon in hand, anger furrowing his brow.
Alan stepped forward, pointed at Oliver’s scabbard with his sword, and said, “No one is permitted to be armed in Castle Tudyk except its inhabitants. Guest must give all weapons at the front door upon arrival.”
“I’m no guest you fool,” Oliver said gruffly to Alan. “I live here.”
“I say you don’t, and as Steward of this castle, my word counts more than yours.”
“Oliver, just give him your sword,” James insisted. “He’s been waiting all year for you to check in with Becky to confront you.”
“Then I shouldn’t disappoint him,” Oliver drew his sword. “But you should know, Alan, I’ve been training with Huntington’s army. And everyone knows they’re the best in all Grigori.”
“How dare you speak against your own people,” Alan raged.
“I thought you said I was a guest here,” Oliver provoked.
“Guest or ward, you’ve dishonored Castle Tudyk and I must defend it.”
“See he just wants a fight,” James warned. “He doesn’t care what for.”
“I know what he is fighting for,” Oliver smiled. “And he won’t win.”
Silence reigned over Castle Tudyk, a silence broken only by the faint thumping of the two men's hearts as they drew nearer to one another.
"Fools," muttered with a bitter laugh before continuing toward the tower. "Never stopping to listen to the wind in a place like this."
They never even saw her coming. Isabeth whipped out her Imp sword and divided it into it's two parts. “If you idiots are going to fight over me, then you are going to fight me for whatever privilege you think you're going to get.”
After a long silence Alan T said, "I want you out of my house, just leave now Oliver!"
Isabeth just stared. What else could she do? At first she thought this was going to be some sick joke, but it wasn't! This became clear to her when Alan let out a blast, where Isabeth had been standing! Luckily she moved at just the right movement.
“If that is the way you want it,” Alan agreed.
When Isabeth moved her feet, Oliver shot at Alan, Isabeth scrambled! Fell and scrambled!
Oliver began yelling. “I had no idea that this was a magic fight, I thought we were using swords, In that case I will let you take my sword, can I can beat you without it.”
"You people? What's wrong with you?” Isabeth yelled.
“You're yelling at the only person who has shown immediate kindness to you. Get your stuff right, you should be hiding behind me right now, staying away from him."
Oliver gripped Alan's throat and squeezed tighter, his gloves against Alan's throat making red marks. "Go."
Isabeth knew what he meant. He dropped Alan to the floor, and Isabeth scurried over to them. Now she could see him clearly, he was the scariest she'd ever seen him. He glared at Isabeth before leaving the room.
“Oliver! You better not sleep tonight, or get someone to watch your back! I'll be looking for you! You are not going to wake up tomorrow!"
Isabeth turned and punched Alan so hard he fell on his ass. "He's scared enough already, don't say stuff like that, he probably believes you!"
When Alan got back to his feet, she slapped him, hard, there was a loud skin smack followed by him flying into the wall. Okay, it was really hard, what's up with people around here! It's crazy!
* * * * * * * * * * *
“My head is still spinning and throbbing,” Oliver started when Isabeth joined him in his room. “He basically set us up. That whole stunt he pulled with the kiss at the ball.”
“Yea but he was with Christina then,” Isabeth defended. “They must have ended.”
“Why? Why do you have to defend him? When he shot at you.”
“I get smacked in the face, again,” Isabeth sighed and sat next to him. “It hurts so much more when it happens with words instead of hands.”
"Oh! SH, I'm so sorry, are you okay?"
“Nope, not doing so good." Isabeth had her eyes tightly closed and her legs drawing closely to her chest, hands also covering her face.
Oliver placed Isabeth's head in his lap and stroked her head ever so slightly, it felt good, him stroking her hair. “SH, I'm so sorry. I was just... I swear I didn't mean..."
He was the only person who hasn't caused Isabeth pain since she got close to them. So Isabeth just sat there, eyelids getting heavier by the second until he pulled back the covers on the bed and laid her down. Isabeth just laid there for a little while while he stood next to the bed still stroking her hair until she fell asleep, letting unconsciousness take her over.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Oliver jerked awake. A gut wrenching feeling of trepidation jolted through his veins. His eyes open, his chest heaved as he gulped for air. The silken sheets covering his naked muscled body slid as he propped himself up. Lean muscles in his arms tightened, fingers flexing in an urge to reach for his sword. Beside him lay his mistress, the beautiful woman, her curves were barely hidden beneath the covers. She slept peacefully even as Oliver's mind panicked. With thoughts darting here and there, his searched for the cause of his sudden unrest.
His sharp black eyes scanned the room before him. The darkness of the night crept from every corner of the chamber. A single lit candle by the bedside flickered dimly, its light not enough to let him see past the gloom. For a moment he let his gaze past the windows, observing as dark ominous clouds rolled chaotically in the horizon. The once clear star studded sky was now overcast with the tell tale signs of a tempest. Harsh winds howled, pounding mercilessly against the stone walls of his home. Then thunder began to rumble. Lightning struck soon after. The bolt illuminated the room for a mere few seconds but it was enough. Oliver had seen what he wanted to see. His initial fears had been finally confirmed. They were not alone.
“Who's there?" Oliver demanded, adding a tone of authority in his voice. Though giving what happened that morning it wasn't entirely impossible that James would post himself there for safety. Pausing, he waited for the intruder to answer in return. At the same time his mind ran a mile a minute. He glanced at the sword propped at the end of his bed, mentally looking for a way to grab it without looking a bit conspicuous. Was it a friend or a foe? He did not know. There was nothing wrong with taking precautions.
Silence hung in the air as the silhouette of a man stood still against the farthest wall. It did not move nor speak. An ominous shadow camouflaged it in the darkness. Like a ghost or a creature of the night it haunted its prey. Then the trespasser suddenly moved. With light foot steps, he advanced towards the four poster bed where the target lay. Lightning flashed, once then twice. Suddenly an unshakable fear took hold paralyzing Oliver's nerves and rendering him petrified. He knew who it was. From the moment he saw the man's face there was no doubt. The eyes were of cold hard ice blue. The distinctive sound of a sword leaving its sheath magnified the impending danger.
Oliver lunged. He stretched his arms, hands reaching out for the half-concealed weapon by the foot of his bed. But even before his fingers gripped the hilt of his sword he felt the searing pain. Cold sharp steel sliced through soft flesh then through hard bone cutting it cleanly in one swift stroke. The wrist disconnected from the rest of the limb, falling on to the hard stone floor. Blood burst through the wound and he screamed. The woman by his side stirred yet did not wake. Then the sword arched again. This time he felt its edge against his neck. Oliver felt his jaw slacken as the steel cut through his throat, his eyes widening as it rolled up in its sockets.
It was early morn by the time the Oliver awoke, his loud unending screams startling Isabeth who was sitting beside him. He sat up quickly and recoiled in horror as he took in the scene. Alan lay dead, ambushed and executed as his blood seeped into the carpet of his bedroom floor. The decapitated head was gone, nowhere to be found. Isabeth huddling herself in a corner like a madwoman. Her eyes were blank as she mumbled crazed, angry unintelligible words.
“I thought he killed me,” Oliver said finally releaved.
“He did,” Isabeth revealed. “I reversed his actions onto him when I heard you scream.”
* * * * * * * * * * *
August was check in month at Castle Tudyk, so that meant that Oliver and Isabeth had four months without interference before Alan repoped at New Years. Taking advantage of this vacation, Isabeth was and the twins were laying out on a blanket enjoying the last of the summer sun.
Isabeth rolled over in an attempt to get up and came nose to nose with James. She jumped to her feet quickly dragging James to his feet by his collar. “Your eyes are brown!” Isabeth exclaimed. “How do you have brown eyes?” She was almost yelling at James, he was looking scared.
“I’ve always had brown eyes.”
Isabeth turned on Oliver who blushed as his blue eyes turned back to there natural color. “You only seemed to be interested in men with blue eyes,” Oliver explained.
“There’s a reason for that,” Isabeth snapped out. “I’m only attracted to blue and green eyes.”
“That’s kind of shallow,” James tried to help his brother.
“I just wanted you to like the way I looked as well as me,” Oliver said calmly.
“You lied to me,” Isabeth was irritated. “I hate you right now.”
“But deep down you still like me,” Oliver joked hopefully.
“I love you, I have to like you.”
“You love me?”
“Oliver,” Isabeth sighed exasperatedly. “My love for you is not based on your looks. Believe me! I love you because of how you make me feel, the way you look at me, touch me, talk to me, listen to me.” Isabeth put her arms around Oliver’s neck and kissed him softly.
“Do you want me to change them back?” Oliver offered.
“No, I want to see you.” They began to kiss again.
James began to make gagging sounds as he walked away from the affectionate couple. He found Paige and looked her in the eyes. “I don’t like your eyes. I think I’m going to drop you.”
“Are you serious?” Paige asked on the edge of anger.
“Yes. Sorry sweet, it’s over.”
* * * * * * * * * * *
"NO!" Alan bellowed, enraged. He had just reappeared to a very subdued and boring New Years. He gnashed his teeth together. The wards around him warily took a few steps back. A sound of a sword leaving its sheath sent them running for their lives. Alan T handled his fury the only way he knew how. Lucy was slow enough in her fleeing and encountered the sharp edge of Alan's weapon against the juncture of her shoulder. Blood spilt and pooled on the floor as the girl collapsed unto the floor. Then Alan turned to James, the only person who unfortunately wore the face of the person Alan really wanted to cut open.
Alan T gritted his teeth, unappeased. Stepping forward, he placed the sharp side of his sword near the skin of the man's neck. A drop of blood trickled down as the edge slid against human skin, slicing it.
"Tell me why I should spare your life?" Alan drawled, impatience setting in. "Or do you wish to join Lucy rotting on the floor?"
Without batting an eye, Becky placed her hand on top of Alan's own. Holding his ground, he spoke with conviction.
"Out of all the men who have surrounded you, Becky. I have been the one who upheld my loyalty without wavering"
The spoken words cleanly echoed within the castle. The people who had run away eyed Alan warily. Silence then followed. A few minutes had passed before they let out a breathy sigh of relief. The Alan had slipped his sword back into its scabbard. A smirk graced Alan T's chapped lips. He patted the James's shoulder, one hand wiping away the trickle of blood on his neck.
Becky had always been a quick witted Watcher. Alan's smart brain earned him the position he held. And yes, he had always been faithful. Alan T upheld loyalty above all else. This was a trait rarely found in the wards of Spain and in her private army.
Alan turned. Taking a few steps, he walked to Becky's side. His plan had ended up in disaster. And that fact sent a surge of fury into Alan T's heart. What else should he do? Frustration mounted, holding him by the neck. He had done all that could be done. During his first year in power, really taking his job as Steward seriously, but no matter how much he tried, that last vestige of power eluded him.
“I think I am done here,” Alan said calmly to Becky.
“I think you are,” Becky assured him. “We'll schedule a formal ceremony. Do you want the option of choosing your successor?”
“No, ma'am. I don't want that or any other responsibility.”