Jourd’Muerta, 20th Primera
Aro nearly cried to see his hometown again, but this time it was with tears of joy.
Whatever the powers that be wanted to say about rebellions in general, it was obvious these rebels had done what they’d done for the good of the province – several buildings had been rebuilt, and the rest were in differing stages of being repaired. The streets were clean, the Market looked polished, and even the hacienda no longer looked dark and forbidding.
It truly was a miracle, and Aro could have kissed Molly for what the woman had done.
He had kissed Anala very deeply for his bellica’s commitment to the cause, and for her making contact with Molly in the first place. A kiss that had led to something deeper, much to Aro’s surprise and delight. As a result both he and his bellica had gotten very little sleep the night before, for Aro had wanted to take his time, the first time with the woman he loved.
So he had. Several times. Both he and Anala looked exhausted, but it was a happy exhaustion, and he’d heard no complaints from his love – aside from something about her saddle being too hard.
He could only smile, for he couldn’t really believe in the first place that she’d been ready. She’d told him why she felt ready. She realised that she did love him, and that she didn’t want to wait for a peace that might never come. The time to deal with her past demons she might never get.
If she couldn’t get the time she needed to do it alone, then she would get the support she needed from him to deal with it now. So it came about that she’d told him everything. He’d been filled with a burning rage – and a desire to go back in time to kill Adem himself. He remembered the kid – hadn’t ever really liked him, for no tangible reason. The privo had been kind and helpful, even if a bit cocky. Aro had just never warmed to him.
I suppose I saw his true nature, even then. For Adem was evil to the core – a bad apple in Athering’s society. The major now felt intensely glad that Adem had been so cocky, for that quality had ensured a painful and drawn-out death by treecat mauling for the boy. It was better than he deserved.
Aro looked over at Anala, and as if she sensed his gaze, she looked up and smiled at him. Aro forced himself to keep his smile light, and then they broke the contact, not wanting to cause rumours.
Besides, they were in the town proper now, and Aro felt overwhelmed from emotion to see his town looking so good.
“Are you well, friend?” came Jules’ voice from beside him. “You look on the verge of tears and laughter at the same time.”
“Aye, that I am,” Aro whispered back. “But I’ve never been better.”