Adventuring through twisted time.

Into the dark of night, she ran. 

Over everything else, running was the one constant thing she seemed to be the most skilled at. Although many people would argue that. Libelle and her other ladies all knew this night was coming, it was just a matter of when it would. Ostana had told them she would go sometime soon but couldn't bear to tell them when because the moment they said their teary eyed goodbyes her resolve for leaving would crumble. She needed to leave though. Every woman here had some sort of life before coming to work at the brothel and it caused them to know themselves away from work.

Ostana didn't know herself outside of Ruby or before that Oz. She never truly got the chance to get to know just Ostana and what it meant to be her. Getting away would be good for her and she had some help finding a place that no one would recognise her as Ruby but even more importantly as Oz. Having access to the Gypsies through Libelle was truly a blessing at times. It allowed for her to know of this place she was off to, to begin with, but even more so because of them, she had her own home in this town so she wouldn't have to rely on looking for an inn. 

She let out her wolf once she reached the woods. Letting her run free as she tried and failed to recall the last time she allowed her to do so. Her wolf limped for a while at first from the muscle memory of her paw being broken though it had long been healed. Had it been that long since she shifted? Since the last time, she was injured? After frolicking through the forest for a few hours she made her way to its edge and found the clothes a Gypsy left hidden for her. She'd have to travel the rest of the way as a human but her wolf got her quite far already. 

She froze at the sight of her crimson cloak. Hesitant to put it on when the cool morning air began to nip at her back. She wasn't cold but she knew that if she didn't wear it people would find it concerning that she was underdressed for the cold weather. So although the color of the cloak clearly stood out she put it on to blend in. Her wolf had run all night and now as she walked the sun had come but did little to none with warming the world and in fact, it had even begun to snow. The description of This town reminded her of home almost with its consistent cold weather and battle ready and weary people. The only difference was her home was native to the Lupines and while she couldn't be sure who or what was native to this land she knew it wasn't wolves by the smell alone. 

What she could smell however this far out was blood. Fresh from a kill and it made the wolf within her stir but there was more to it. There was the smell of death beyond just the fresh kills it was like something she'd only smelled once before from one of her clients. The closer she got to the scent the slower her tracks became until she altogether stopped. These scents were growing stronger as she continued on her path and she wasn't going to just foolishly walk right into whatever it was. She sniffed around and froze again as now yet another scent was caught but this one took over all her senses. It intoxicated her and lulled her ever closer into the unknown. She forced her legs to stop moving forward when she realised she was moving. 

She was dazed for a moment until she heard a scream and like a ton of breaks, her senses came tumbling back down to Earth. Her wolf stirred again but this time because she was nervous for the bearer of that blood curling scream. What if they bore that scent? Even if they didn't they were clearly in trouble and by the sounds of things whatever was happening was sure to be an attack and not a fight and Ostana in good conscience couldn't just stand idly by and let that happen when there was a good chance she could help. So she took off and followed her nose and the sounds, accessing the situation before launching out to attack. 

A young woman surrounded by men and running for her life. These weren't the ones that smelled like death and there wasn't any blood about. She corked a brow as she watched from the shade of the trees, watching as this woman ran towards the very scents she had followed here. A trap? Was she luring them to their deaths like a black widow? She quietly hummed to herself in thought but in a matter of seconds was out and standing between these men and this woman. Who had fallen, due to being shot in the leg with an arrow. Ostana let out an unnatural growl which made the men flatter slightly. Watching them become even more unsettled as she suddenly sensed she wasn't alone as that scent of death and fresh blood grew closer to her back. Soon everyone attacked but Ostana stood her ground to continue to guard the woman. Kneeling to remove the arrow and staunch the bleeding. 

"Just going to stand there big guy?" She snaps towards Vestein. Showing him nothing. No emotion or attraction or all the things she should be, as his scent completely invaded her senses because he was her mate. 

But that was just it. She didn't want one. 

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Cocky, Arrogance, and Egotistical were all the things that he was called long before his life changed to one where he was dependent on blood. Becoming the thing that killed him, vowing to keep others from his fate with his fellow warriors that fell with him that day. Time seemed to blend together between endless fighting, or boredom. The Viking was finding the inability to gain rest tiresome as that night he started to walk down the road, to breathe in the cold night air to gain some sense of self again. He was feeling rather lost in the rut of his life when he heard the shot of an arrow off in the woods.

He paused and the scent of blood filled his nose, his fangs reacted, growing. Yet with the scent of blood came the scent of fear. He rolled his shoulder as he stepped back into the shadows and was there in a blink of an eye. Watching to see what was happening. These men seem to be trying to either rape the girl or take her to sell her into slavery. Neither would be happening that night.  His fangs only grew more when another scent hit him. One that fogged over his brain.  He was still hidden in the shadows as Ostanna was there on the ground with the girl, growling to the males.

As she snapped towards him he was frozen for a moment as his brain and body burned with the thought, she was his mate. Though quickly he stepped out of the shadows and in a blink of an eye all the men were beheaded not really wanting to toy with him like he would have done before. He looked to the last head before tossing it behind him and moving closer to her. Covered in blood not caring at that moment. His eyes flicked to the screaming woman and using his power of Hypnosis he spoke in Nordic to her. “You are going to forget this and go home.” Another blink of an eye the arrow was gone and her ankle wrapped.

After she was sent on her way, Vestein turned to Ruby. With a strong hand he wrapped it around her forearm pulling her closer. His other hand moved to her hair which he tugged lightly to pull her head back as he pressed his nose to her neck taking a deep whiff of her scent to confirm that what he smelled before was her. It was intoxicating, so much so that he couldn’t stop himself as his fangs dug into her neck causing his euphoric venom to spill into her vein. Tasting her blood was like tasting chocolate for the first time. He wanted to drink her dry but after the taste he pulled back letting a loud groan of pleasure out.

“Mate.” He said in her tongue. What a way to meet. They were now both covered in blood and he was being a savage just how any would expect from him. He pulled back and moved to pick up the headless bodies. “Where...you... from?” He struggled to get out, clearly not comfortable with English as it was still foreign to his tongue but he had been practicing. 

Suddenly, everything was moving far too fast around her. She blinked and the men were dead. She blinked again and the woman was wrapped up on her way home. Again and she was unexpectedly in his arms and his lips were on her neck. 

All before the men's heads could hit the floor and roll. 

The one very sobering thing about all of this. That kept her grounded even through him bitting her without her consent and his venom seeping into her veins. Was his harsh grip on her wrist. Even if she had wanted to lose herself to this. Which she absolutely didn't. She wouldn't have been able to. All her defences went up the moment she felt the very triggering and far too familiar feeling of a possessive grip on her arm. She shook her head. Trying to clear the fog billowing up in her mind. 

She forced herself free of him. Her hand immediately came to her neck. Her eyes scrupulously stuck on him. She snarled at the gall of this brute. Allowing her wolf to growl viciously. She let her k-9's descend. Flashing them at him in warning as her wolf's eyes came to the forefront. She used her hidden strength to pry herself out of his grip. In actual disbelief that he thought this was all okay as he spoke. Picking up on his accent and the way he struggled to communicate in her tongue. 

She punched him. 

Holding nothing back because she wanted him to feel everything. He might have been fast but she was strong. And she was sure to make sure he didn't see it coming. "You forceful bastard!" She kept herself from punching him again. Sure he'd dodge it that time. And be sure she said it in his tongue. Wanting him to understand she didn't approve of what he'd just done. "Stay. Away. From. Me!" Her words seep out like poisonous gas from a vial. Still speaking in his tongue.

"Or it'll be more than just a punch next time." A hard growl followed her threat. And she wasted no time spinning on her heels and walked back towards the direction she was headed. But not without making sure he didn't follow because she wouldn't care who he was to her. She would kill him. Fortunately, the town she'd be staying in was lively and crowded. Easy to get lost in the multitude and blend right in... Once she shed herself of her ruby cloak of course. Picking up a black one from the market and swapped it right then and there before, at last, arriving at her new home. 

It was a quaint little shack. Perfect for one person and very clearly run down. But that brought a bright smile to Ostana's face. She would enjoy this little fixer-up. But for now, she needed rest. And to be sure that bastard didn't mark her. Once in the safety of her new home, she let the venom she had been fighting so hard against course through her veins fully. She rubbed her head as she swayed. 


This felt good. Better than she wanted it to. She was quick to cover her windows and make sure everything was locked. Though she could smell death all around. Telling her this town was a home for namely Sanguines. Which bought her mind right back to her mate. "Fuck!" This isn't what she wanted. She had come here trying to escape love not fall into it.

He wouldn't understand. 

Her head bumped the wall with a faint thud. She leaned against it and slid down to the floor. The venomous high crashed as she descended. She groaned in mixed frustration. Pulling herself to her feet. Her new home wasn't fully furnished but it had the necessities she needed. A working chimney to which she lit a warm fire and a small cot to sleep on. To which she plopped upon as she could feel her face flush the color of her name. She would begin her journey into making this house a home tomorrow. 

At this very moment, she had another intoxicating issue to handle. One she hoped sleep would help. 

Watching the beauty of her wolf dance along her features he was lost in the beauty of her wild as the hook of her fist met him. Feeling his body budge under her small hand he gave a gentle chuckle running his fingers along where she hit. “Amazing.” he managed to get out as he staggered for a moment only to right himself. Once her voice hit his ears in his language the man felt the buckle in his knees as they went weak for a moment. “You speak my language?” Confusion was there since her accent told him otherwise. “Mate!” he said again towards her as he blinked, “How can I leave you?” He said then confused at her abrasive nature.

He watched her walk away knowing full well that she was speaking her words true and a huff left his nose as he looked at the mess on the road. With a growl he was quick to pick  the heads up and set the bodies on fire before making his way back to his nest. Once there the heads were boxed and sent off to his cousin to verify they were criminals she was after before he made his way to bathe the blood off of himself.  He cleaned himself up trying to make himself look propper before making his way into the town as night grew darker. Stopping at a shop he paid for a bouquet of flowers.

As he followed the laces of her scent that called out to him towards the small shack. Taking it in he gave a gentle huff in that moment. She was going to need some proper wood if she planned on staying there. Setting the flowers down in front of the door he moved off to rip down some trees and breaking them apart. He pulled them in front of her home, setting them in a stack before returning to the door and picking up the flowers and placing a gentle knock upon the door. Rocking on his feet for a moment he wondered if he would be met with a fist or an open hand. He was confused by her nature and denying what was there between them. Was it possible to have a one way mate? Something he would need to ask an elder.







Ostana slept rather peacefully for such a cryptic dream. It might have caused a jump scare for others. For her, it would take much more to scare. She only stirred when she smelled him and even then her eyes came to a slow open well before he arrived at her door. She laid still and listened. Squinting her eyes once he stepped away. Huffing when she heard the creaking of wood as it snapped. Rolling onto her back and rubbing her face a bit annoyed. It didn't just take a lot to scare her. It took a lot to impress her. Make an impression. Intrigue her. Etc... It worked in her favor in her line of work. But she got called outside of her name rather often because of it. 

She waited. Like a lioness in the bush waiting to catch its prey. Waiting for him to build the courage to knock. Hoping he wouldn't. Yet of course he did. They always did. She rose and wrapped herself in the black cloak she had. The red one she needed a mental break from. When she opened the door she was rather emotionless. Her face showed neither annoyance nor excitement to see him. And her eyes seemed empty. Seeing her now you would wonder how she was the most popular lady in the Dragon Lady but since she wasn't working at the moment there was no need for her to turn up her intoxicating charm. In fact, she was playing it down for him because the smallest hint or move and she was sure he would be planning their wedding. 

After staring at him for a moment waiting for him to say something. Her eyes wandered down to the flowers in his hands. Looking behind him slowly too to see the wood. Her eyes quickly landed back on him though. She didn't not trust him now that she knew he seemed entitled to just grabbing and kissing women.

Or at least her. 

When he didn't speak she sighed. She wasn't a bitch as many might try to imply. Gently taking the flowers from him. " Thank you." She knew his language better than he might expect. Another perk of her profession. She smelled them without ever letting her watchful gaze leave him. "For the wood too. Though I was and am looking forward to haggling with the merchants over what I need." She continued in his language. Her buttery voice was kind and without a hint of disappointment. She laid the flowers down on a small table near her door. She wouldn't let him in and knew he probably wouldn't leave. So she stepped out and closed her door. Crossing her arms over her chest. "So you gonna tell me your name big guy? Or just stand there like a Greek statue?"

When the door opened as he stood there like a fool lost in his thoughts on if he should ask the elders questions on if it was possible to have a one way mate. Watching her face remain emotionless and empty was intriguing, not even annoyed that he was there to annoy her. Trying to remember how to speak with an English tongue was hard when he was staring at her. He had questions for her, wanted to get to know her but also knew that his normal grunting and Norse dialect could be hard to understand.

He held the flowers out slightly to her and when she spoke more in his language his shoulders seemed to release the tension that they were holding there. “This makes it easier to talk at least.” He did try not to talk super fast though wanting to make sure he didn’t confuse her knowing this wasn’t her first language. “I mean you’re welcome.” He said as he stared at her for a long moment. Watching her take in the scent of the flowers he brought her. 

“Merchants are hags here, you shouldn’t go alone, one would try to pickpocket you or give you poor products because they believe women do not know what good is.” He said with a slightly frustrated tone. As she came out he took a step back and then ran his hand through her hair slowly. “I’m Vestein Winther of the Winther Viking tribe.” He looked her over quickly before looking away from her. 

“I must ask for forgiveness for my actions when I first saw you. Everything screamed in me you were my mate and I must mark you. It was not kind of me to kiss you or bite you without your permission.”  He rubbed his hand on the back of his neck with a soft chuckle. “My cousin would have my head if she knew I did that, well maybe tie me up and torture me and not take my head since I try…” he trailed off realizing he was talking far to much. “What is your name?” He finally looked back at her. “Why are you here?”

Her vibrant blue eyes travelled to his lips as he spoke to help her understand what he was saying better. His language wasn't far from her own which is how and why she was able to pick up from her clients so quickly. She knew quite a few languages as a pro to being in her business but this was one of the harder ones. And with Vikings constantly coming and going. Never staying long. And her own caution of one of them being from her home it made this one of her weaker languages. Up until now, she hadn't yet taken him in fully. Given the circumstances under which they met. 

So she subtly took him in as he spoke. He wasn't half bad. And she even found herself staring at his lips and remembering what they felt like. Of course, her skills in keeping her thoughts off her face were unmatched. So she appeared unphased. Until he spoke of the merchants like she knew nothing at all about how conniving and dangerous they could be. Maybe for a human woman who wasn't raised as a man. Or lived her life as a sex worker. The merchants here couldn't do anything to her that she hadn't dealt with before. She knew Vestein didn't mean anything by it. However, she didn't want or like her mate underestimating her. 

And she would remind him of doing so every time. She had to because she couldn't sit on things in perfect silence. She rolled her eyes and grabbed the bottom of his face. Pulling his face to hers. "Vestein. I would like to see those merchants try something with me." She smiled viciously. As the blue in her eyes deliquesced into the violent red of her wolf's. And once she was sure he saw that she pulled him even closer until her lips brushed against his ear. "You'd do well to remember that though you are faster than me. I am stronger than you." She let him go. Gently rubbing the part of his face she was just grabbing as eyes frosted back to blue. But she quickly recoiled before he took that to mean something it didn't.

She wasn't harsh the whole time she held him. But he wouldn't have been able to break free from her grasp if he tried. She also never raised her voice. In fact, she used her bedroom voice on him. Against her better judgment. "Merchants are no threat to me. " she shrugged. "Winther?" She recalled him saying and her brow rose. "As in Astrid Winther?" She didn't know her personally but she knew of the queen. She had tried to make it to her when she ran away from home. Hoping that the stories she heard of her protecting women were true. She never made it. And maybe that was for the better in the end because she met Libelle instead. 

She also knew of the war between The Gypsies and the Valkyrie. And how although the war was ended sometimes peace just couldn't be kept. If war were to happen again because of her loyalty to the De La Vega family she would be on the side of The Gypsies. While he would be on the Valkyrie And Viking's side. For the first time since meeting an emotion crossed her face. And it was a grimace. She hated the idea of fighting her mate. It faded quickly, however as she heard his apology. Cousin? Was it Astrid? She thought piecing the information he gave together. 

"Léah. Just Léah" she said with no hesitation. It wasn't a lie either. It was just her middle name and as a precaution what she went by to strangers. She was wanted as Ostanna Bellinfold by her father and ex. And Ruby was too well known of an alias it would give her away immediately. She hesitated though for the next question as the answer wasn't as easy as the first. "I needed time to myself." She says less confidently. "To get to know myself away from everything in my life and To break my own heart." She mumbles over the last part and immediately changes the subject. "We should get to the merchants before it gets too late no?" She brushed past him to walk.

Those captive eyes of hers held his form as he talked, any other person he wouldn’t have overly minded but with her it felt as if she was trying to get into his mind. That scared him, as his mind was the only thing he had to himself. He had never been a man of many words and yet he was using them all as he talked with her. She wasn’t going to give him an inch willingly it seemed. Yet he had so many questions about her and who she was. He was vested, and acting in ways that no one had ever seen him like. Yet he had never met anyone like her before, she was his mate.

As her fingers came to grab the bottom of his face he stopped talking, feeling her pull him down to meet her gaze only made him smile wildly. “I am sure out of all the people that they try to mess with, you would be the one to leave them on their toes and wanting more.” He took in that smile as it touched her face as those gorgeous blue eyes turned red. He was in awe of her at that moment wanting to remember it. It was the feeling of her lips against his ear that made his knees weak. He wanted to buckle to the ground and beg for her to do it again. Once she had let him go, a smile of his own creeped on his face. “I would like for you to show me some time.” he willingly admitted as he was in awe of how feisty she was.

Just her voice stuck in his ears of her words made it hard for him to focus on much else before hearing his cousin's name past her lips. “Yes, Astrid is my cousin. The blessed Valkyrie I fight for. She is the true leader we needed.” He gave a hefty nod of his head before offering a bang to his chest. “How do you know Astrid? Are you friends? You are not of winged blood I know.” He tilted his head to the side wanting to know more. Still not knowing what her work was, just that she seemed to be traveling and had the money to do so since she was staying where she was. “Are you venturing to see her?” Seeing the grimace on her face caused him to drop his head to get a better look but as quick as it was there it was gone. “Are you okay?”

 “Léah?” He said the name, letting it sit in his mouth for a moment and then gave her a smile. “Time by yourself and I am ruining it for you I see.” he gave a hearty laugh for a moment before rubbing the back of his neck with his hand even though her answer sounded off compared to her other words. “A journey of self discovery. I had one of those after I was changed.” he mumbled under his breath before focusing back on her. “What broke the heart of one so strong?” he asked as she brushed past him. He helplessly followed behind her.

He slowed his steps to match hers to be beside her. “What do you need while you are on your journey? Do you want meat? Bread? Wine? All the wine?” he asked as he looked her over with a smile. “Maybe the mixings for a nice soak?” he wiggled his brows to her.

"Friends?" she tilts her head and scoffs. 

"No we're not friends" she starts to walk towards the town. To put space between them as he leaned into her face and asked if she was okay. "Never met her. Just heard her name in The Wind." she glances over her shoulder as she highlights her last couple of words. Indicating they were on opposite sides. She smirked to herself at his loyalty to his cousin. Of course, he wouldn't see this smirk as she had already faced back around. And the smirk was short lived. She admired his loyalty which made her smirk in the first place. But ultimately what made her smirk vanish was the truth in knowing they were loyal to would be enemies. 

She was so used to running. Used to living off scraps. Though of course, Libelle made sure she was well fed. If she didn't tell her or remind her to eat she'd forget. She'd get so lost in what she was doing that the whole day would pass and she hadn't even taken a sip of water. So at the mention of meat and wine her hunger settled.  And she realized she hadn't eaten anything since Libelle made her stew right before she left. A very warm feeling filled her chest but also made her heartache. So she sighed a heavy breath. "Food would be nice." she avoid answering his other questions. Especially the one on her broken heart. 

He wasn't entirely clueless. He said he was imposing on her wanting to be alone. Though she didn't tell him to leave. And yet still somehow he was. So she rolled her eyes and groaned when he mentioned bathing. While a bath would be nice if she never bathed or took one with another person she'd be thrilled. There were some exceptions and she was already not looking forward to when she'd returned home and found herself in yet another bath wanking off a man too small to do anything with. Another heavy sigh left her. But this time to clear her mind of all the thoughts of home. Good or bad. 

When they made it to the town a faint scent she once knew hit her. Carrying with it an unpleasant memory. One that sat in her stomach like a stone. And raised the hairs on the back of her neck and arms. But as she gazed around. Nothing. Maybe she was just paranoid. This was the first time she was away from the comforts and safety of the brothel. So she willed the feelings to the back of her mind. "I need everything ." she began to look around the market. "All the Cabin has is an old cot." she picked up a flint and paid for it. "Oh, and a considerable amount of wood a big guy left outside my door." 

✧ In The Dark of The Night ✧
Vestein wasn’t sure how to take her reaction to his question on whether she and his cousin had been friends. Though he also knew that Astrid's name had become more well known as she became the Shield Maiden. She was a furious Valkyrie who earned her place. “Does the wind often talk to you?” He asked for some clarification, he didn’t smell the sand in her veins but he could be wrong. The Gypsy and the Viking tribes had their own difficulties. Yet that didn’t stop him from following behind her like a lost puppy not wanting her to go far from him, there was just an invisible pull for him when it came to her.

“I know the best place in town.” He said as they made their way down the path, a gap between him he wanted to close but he could see she was one that didn’t seem to like closeness. His gaze admired her though wondering every question most would wonder when it came to a mysterious stranger coming out of nowhere and making you whole world flip upside down. He could tell in their interactions she wasn’t the kind that would spill her guts or let you in easily. He gave a gentle hum from his lips. Yet she hadn’t told him off either, it was a weird gray area that he had found himself in. He would take it, at least to get to know her a little bit more.

The town came into view and he gave a smile towards it, it was alive with people that had been making their home there as of late. The cloudy day meant he could be out with her without too much issue, he was weaker but not in pain. He felt the static charge in the air all of a sudden and looked towards her. Noticing the hairs raise up on her arms and neck, then watched her glace around as if something had triggered her animal instinct. “Humm.” he gave out again as he looked around then but nothing wasn’t normal to his senses. He didn’t want to let her know he saw the change in her though.

With a big goofy grin on his face he looked back at her. “I figured you needed wood, I may have gone overboard because I didn’t know how long you were going to be here.” He said with a chuckle but felt a twinge in his chest for a moment. “There is a nice bath house in the center of the city. I prefer the springs not far from here myself though.” It was a place that made him feel normal. “Let's hit the tavern, the best mead and meats in the town. Then I can help you carry a few things back to your cabin. I have these large arms for something.” He flexed and offered her an easy wink.

"The Wind's never spoken to me. Nor I to it."

She tilted her head. What an odd question. Then again what else was she to expect when he knew nothing of her? And all she had shared with him thus far were hints of the wind. She hummed realizing and laughed gently without opening her mouth." I'm no gypsy but they're... Like family... To me." it was the best way for her to put it. "What I mean is I know of the feud between our two families. And while things are peaceful now who's to say if that peace will last... And what side you and I would choose." she wasn't looking at him any longer. Instead, she skimmed through the items on display before her. 

Him and this bath! 

She scoffed out a laugh. But she had already decided she would like one. Her muscles were screaming at her to let the water soothe her aches away. At the mention of the nearby bathhouse, however, she became notably nervous. She was told this town was safe but she still would have to be careful. One could never know when visitors were in town and if one of those visitors were a client. And with that familiar scent still sitting on her shoulder there was no way in hell she was going to that bathhouse. 

"I think I would like the springs better." she couldn't hide her nerves from her face at first. Until she had spoken where her emotions were once again well hidden. "but only if you promise me some privacy." she got in his face. She wasn't about to give him an inch or anything to take and run with. She stashed away the flintstone she'd purchased and gazed around the marketplace before up at the sky. Between needing to eat. Buy things for her cabin. And bathe she settled with the knowledge of knowing she'd not be able to buy everything she needed today. There wasn't enough time. She let out a soft sigh as she looked back at Vestein. "We should eat first before we shop and save the bathing for after everything is back at my cabin. I'll get only small essentials today and come back for everything else as time goes on."

She had a cot. Wood she could use for both fire and repairs. And now a flintstone for her fireplace. With a few more items she would be fine until she was ready to start refurbishing everything. Silently she followed Vestein. Keeping her dark hood up to hide her face. At this moment she was grateful she wasn't alone. Because no one paid her any mind. She was just another woman with a man lost in the sea of faces. It meant no one was trying to see her face to say they knew her or say they wanted to get to know her. Once they were seated in the crowded tavern though she took her hood down. Observing just how different this place was from The Dragon Lady which was far better in her eyes. She was biased and she knew it. 

If she could say it she would. But instead, she remained quiet. Listening to what foods they had to offer. And only speaking to ask what the server would recommend. Once again perfectly blending into the crowd. "If you keep staring people will think I'm a mystic or gypsy who's bewitched you. I don't know about you but I would rather not be falsely burned at the stake." she was joking but also not. Some towns still did crude acts of punishment over the simplest things. And this was just another thing you could never know about a town until it was happening to you. A silent thanks left her lips when the food arrived at their table. Ruby opened her mouth to ask him if he could eat and drink normally at least to blend in or if he was confined to a very strict way of life as a Sanguine. But her mouth closed before she could take a breath. And that smell she knew so well came wafting into the tavern. 

Only her eyes move as she stills. Locking on the man who looked almost identical to her entering the tavern. It was clear he smelled her. It was clear she was why he entered the establishment. And the moment their identical gazes locked each of their stone masks melted into two VERY different emotions. For him, it was confusion, joy and shock. A disbelief that took over his entire being. While for Ruby it was fear and nervousness. With her eyes, she begged him not to approach but he did. She then begged him with her eyes again not to say her name. He took a breath and she dropped her head. Her long dark locks cover her face from the world.

"Sis? Is that really you?"

She loosed the breath she didn't realize she was holding. But not fully. He might not have said her name but two facts still remained. The first was that this conversation was just beginning. The second was which of her brothers were this? Was it one that like her was sold off to better the Bellinfold name? Or was it one that joined her father and her ex in the grand search for her? Were those two questions mutually exclusive anymore? Her head raised slowly and she now wore a new mask. One of posed rage. She kept herself together and composed to a T but one wrong move or word and that would flip. She wasn't going back to her hometown. To her father. Her ex. Any of it. She'd die fighting if she had to. 

Her heartless gaze seemed to offend and hurt her brother. He swallowed hard and shifted on his feet. She couldn't deny they were related all the Bellinfold children looked similar. She wasn't an exception. Plus their scents were similar. Proof they were siblings. He gave a nervous chuckle and sad smile at how she had greeted him. Understanding it had to have been over twenty years since she had seen him last. "It's Yury." his voice was soft. Almost like a lullaby. And hearing his name immediately caused her rage and all the intensity and tension seeping out of her to completely melt away. She rose to get a better look at him. Leaning to one side as if looking for something. And once she spotted what she was looking for on the side of his nose and lip she slowly slipped into his arms for a warm embrace. 

She wished she could've stayed there longer but she didn't want to be rude to Vestein. She also wanted to cry but being in public that wasn't going to happen. So she pulled away. "Yury, this is my... Friend... Vestein. Vestein, this is my third oldest brother. Yury. " of all fifteen of her brothers there were only maybe 3 or 4 she could possibly trust because not only were they married off while she was still young. But also they looked out for her when her other siblings only looked out for themselves. She sat and welcomed her brother to join if both men were comfortable with that. "I can't stay." he frowned as he stared at his sister. "I just ... I smelled you. And took a moment to find you and see you for myself even if just for a second but if you're going to be in town for a while we can catch up I'm sure!" Ruby frowned for just one second. "I'll be here for a while." 

Both siblings gave one another a soft smile. And as they said their goodbyes for now Yury nudged her arm while she nudged his nose. She was quiet when he left. Gazing down at her plate she had yet to touch. But not focused on anything. It was good to see him. And she wanted to hear all about his life and what he'd made of himself. However, she didn't want to do the same. She wasn't ashamed of what she was. Or where she worked. But he was her older brother. He wouldn't like hearing she pleased men for a living no more than Vestein would. They couldn't find out! 

"He's got a faint scar on the side of his nose that spreads down to his upper lip." she noticed the way Vestein looked at her when she was looking for Yury's scar. "We didn't have it easy growing up." that was putting it lightly  "he got that scar from repeatedly getting injured in the same spot." she peeled back the cover of her book only slightly. Showing just a small hint of vulnerability. "A lot of my siblings look the same but Yury's got that scar." she, at last, began to eat never looking up from her plate. 

✧ In The Dark of The Night ✧
Ruling out that she was a gypsy was something he had to do for Astrid’s sake. After all he didn’t overly care for himself he was no longer pure of sin and problems. No matter how often he tried to be better he felt he was never going to be the man he once was when he was of human flesh. “What are they like?” He was curious as he had only ever heard stories but never knew a gypsy himself. He wondered if the rumors and myths were true or where they just vastly misunderstood. His change made him think of others more surprisingly. “All we can do is hope the peace will last.” He didn’t comment on the side he would choose because they all know he would keep Astrid safe. It was his sworn duty.

He could sense the nervousness in her at that moment and it caused him to tilt his head towards her but when she agreed on the spring he gave a big grin. “The spring is much better, more private.” He gave a nod of his head and made his face look as if he was thinking if he was going to give her privacy but just smiled and nodded his head. “Of course you can have your privacy. I will just stand off and guard.” He liked when she got close to him. It only made him smirk towards her. “Eat yes, bathe later under moon light. Yes?” He asked as he held his hand out pointing to where they were going to eat.

Finding a seat in the tavern was easy; most people moved out of Vestein way when he came into town. They could sense he was a Viking, or maybe the Sanguine he was now. He never minded the parting sea as it made his path easier. This place wasn’t a fancy brothel but it was a place run with love. “Owners here are very kind.” He said with a smile as he waved over the bar wench. As the back and forth with her went he smiled towards Ostana with a massive idiot grin on his face. “Can’t a fool just be in love?” He asked her, “No one will burn, I won't let it happen.” He got defensive all of a sudden as he slammed his large hand to the table.

When the food arrived he relaxed in the seat for a moment, “Thank you.” He said handing her bag of coins before looking at the food, choosing to drink in front of the mug first and his eyes watching her once again she seemed distracted at that moment. He became stiff for a moment only to realize she knew the man that drew closer to them. Yet he could see her not reacting to the question at first. Their scents were close to confirm they were related. Looking between the pair for a moment and it was as if he could tell that the family blood was in fact not thicker than the water at that moment.

Yury was the name he spoke that seemed to calm the wolf who was about to bite off the head of another. Watching her come to terms and the rage fade as she moved to stand to hug him it was a surprise to him that she could show such affection. The hug was awkward at first but it only made Vestein give a gentle smile. “Nice to meet you.” Vestein held out his hand to clasp their hands around each other's forearms in a very Viking manner. He let the two talk, only picking up most of the conversation after the words were spoken, his brain not the quickest at translating.

“In my family we are raised learning to fight to defend ourselves and our family. For the most part it's just fun. We like being rough. Our women are offered the chance to train with us or the birdies if they aren’t blessed with the wings themselves.” He spoke of the valkyries in a strange manner to keep them secret. “But if they don’t wish to, they are not forced into fighting. Were you forced into a rough life?” He asked me to pick up a piece of meat as he chewed on it.

“Do you not like most of your brothers? You were so angry with him when he walked up before the scar and the name?” He asked no one to keep his questions to himself once he understood what was going on. “I have no siblings that I know of. Just cousins so I don’t understand sibling rifts.” He said with a curious interest in her. “Need me to be close so they don’t come after you? I will fight all your brothers if you ask.”

She subtly slipped into a state of shock. For the chances of what just happened to her happening were far too slim for this to be real. She had so many brothers and close calls through the years that she couldn't believe the first brother to find her was one who truly loved her. Ostanna aimlessly ate as she replayed the quick interaction in her mind. She had learned to read people well. Though there were times she'd question herself like she was doing now. He seemed so genuine and he'd never hurt her in the past. He also never loved their father much like her. Yet the chances were so thin and good omens never acted in her favor. So she sat here eating and second guessing herself. 

Her thoughts began to give way as Vestein began to speak. Completely crumbling once she fully registered his words. She stopped eating. She took calming deep breath. In a normal case, she'd have pushed him away by now. But she couldn't bring herself to even be mean to him. Let alone break their mate tie. Maybe before getting her heart broken, she'd have done that. But... She knew how that felt now and she just... She couldn't do that to him. She didn't even know him but she still couldn't. 

"You're moving too fast for me." 

She looked away from him and closed her eyes. Gathering her thoughts and emotions so he would see her sincerity. A trait she never showed except to the ladies at the Dragon Lady. "My family is my battle to fight... For now, because we just met. And sadly with as much as I despise some if not most of my brothers I fear I would hate you more for fighting them because they're still my flesh and blood and we all handled being raised by a self serving man who forgot how to love differently." 

A frown dawned her features as she finally looked him in his eyes. If it ever came down to it she would fight her brothers if only to defend herself but they've not been a threat to her in many moons. They couldn't find her. Yet. So she had no reason to fight them. Ostanna held his gaze hoping he would understand  " I need to take things slow and figure out everything. About myself. My broken heart and the love my heart still holds for the person who broke it. But I can't ask you to wait for me to do that. And I can't promise that becoming friends first will lead to anything more but I would like that. " 

A moment of nervousness gleamed in her gaze and highlighted the vulnerability she was showing him alone. She wanted to reach out and touch his hand but she was too afraid of him rejecting her touch since it was clear he wanted to be her mate. "To answer your question..." she changed the subject to relieve her nerves for just a second before he spoke his half on the matter. "My father raised us like animals. He worked us like cattle plowing a field and fed us like vultures fighting over scraps in a barren desert. Yury often gave his slim pickings to me and I would insist we share. Breaking an already small piece of bread into something small enough to feed a bird. And when he became old enough with a strapping and strong look he sold him off to be married." at some point, as she spoke she did it. She took his cold hand into her warm one. Deliberately leaving out how she was also sold and married off. 

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Chosen Citizen

Citizen of the Realm Brandon LeCreaux

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