The lover’s tree.
Kyle waited in the moon’s light by the lover’s tree. The tree was a meeting for courting youths for generations.
The tree was said to have been once, a young elf and maiden. The girl’s father forbade the union, locking the girl away so the pair could never meet. Eventually, the girl escaped her father in the dead of night and met her lover by the woods. The elf called upon Galan the spirit of the forest. He sang to her about their love and spending eternity together. Galan heeded his call and offered them the protection of her domain, but only by becoming part of the forest. The lovers agreed. Galan transformed the pair into interlocking trees. In spring, the tree’s flowers sprouted blue and white. A twisting embrace for all eternity.
The night air was growing hotter from the coming summer, or maybe he was feeling the heat, anticipating the someone he would meet here tonight. Stripping a leaf form the tree, he absentmindedly folded it in half. A small rusty made him turn to see a figure come out of the darkness, only to fly to his arms.
The sweet taste of cinnamon on her lips and the smell of corn flour set his senses on fire. He slowly detangled and looked at Kora. Her hazel eyes almost look black under the hooded cloak she wore. Cloaked in midnight, she had escaped her home and the village. Kyle could only imagine her bedclothes underneath. Unlike himself dressed in his hunting gear plus a thick gray woolen cloak.
“I almost thought you’d wouldn’t make it.”Kyle couldn’t help but smile as Kora pouted at him.
“I had to wait until daddy went to bed before I could slip out, and I’m sure Roger suspects something.”
Kora nestled against his chest; the day’s worries seemed to melt away. He felt the lifting of her large breasts against his body and felt his heart race. He pulled the black hood back over her head. Her red hair looked dull in the moonlight, kissing her on the forehead he pulled back to look into her eyes.
“I think it’s time to tell Roger; I owe it to him. He is my best friend, and besides; it’s not like we’re fooling around, like kids.”
Kora looked up to his worried face. She bit her lip and whispered.
“I think you might be right. It would be better to have Roger on our side when you ask my father for my hand.”
Kyle stiffened slightly at the mention of marriage but quickly recovered.
“You do want to marry me, don’t you?”
Kyle regained his composure, lifting her chin with his finger, he kissed her full on the lips.
“Of course, course I do. After the tourney, I will go and see your father, I will sit down and talk to him, man to man, about our union. It’s not like I can’t provide for you.”
Kora hugged him tighter. “I do love you, Kyle.”
Kyle sighed heavily, making Kora break from the embrace. Taking a step back, he saw that she was close to tears.
“You do love me, right?”
Kora’s hands came up to cover her mouth. Kyle stepped forward and pulled kora back to his body.
“With all my heart, I love you kora. I’ve loved you since before I can remember, you are my world and everything in it.”
Her kiss was soft as the feather he used for his arrows. The feel of her warm body against him nearly made him forget why he had asked her to come. Breaking free again, he held her at arm’s length for a moment, before pulled her close once more.
“There is something I must tell you.”
It was Kora’s body that stiffened this time.
She put a finger to his lips, “Please Kyle, let’s not talk about this tonight. We should leave it and enjoy each other’s company; it would be such a waste of a lovely evening.”
The thought of not telling her and hoping that events wouldn’t go wrong enticed him. Would it not be best to live in this moment and let everything wait? The Griffin sprang up and devoured the thought.
He blurted out. “I going to have to leave Corbin.”
Kora broke away again, her eyes as big as one of the moons in disbelief.
“What do you mean, leave? Where are you going?”
Kyle pulled at his cloak and wrapped it around his body, the cooling evening air penetrating his skin. The thought of telling his love that he had to leave because of a talking, walking, real-life Giffin said to, seemed a little too much.
Kora looked at Kyle as she mirrored him wrapped in her cloak.
“Laurell has been called to attend the king of the Malanda forest; I have agreed to accompany him.”
A small band of cricket chirped in the grass along the edge of the forest.
“Why must you go? Laurell can look after himself.”
Kyle though hard to counter the question. He turned away from her and pointed through the trees.
“The elf kingdom is over one hundred leagues away. I can’t let Laurell go alone if anything was to happen to him.”
He left the sentence unfinished hoping it was enough to satisfy her curiosity. Kora tentatively came back to him, wrapping her arms around his midriff and placing her on his shoulder blade.
“That is why I love you, Kyle. You care for other people.”
He dropped his head to his chest as guilt pierced his heart. Guilt rode him like a draft horse the last few days. Even on the first day of the tourney, he found it hard to concentrate on the task at hand. The thought of telling Kora the truth had been eating at him, maybe a lie would be better than the truth, to keep her safe. A twig snapped. Kyle’s head sprang up, and he glared into the darkness beneath the trees.
“What is it?”
Kora’s voice faulted in the moon’s light. Opening his sense as Laurell had taught him and listened for the sounds of the forest. An owl hooted in a far away tree, faint merriment drifted in from the tavern in town, but he couldn’t anything moving on the forest floor. He untangled from kora, turned around and pulled her back into an embrace.
“Nothing my love, probably just a rabbit.”
They stood beneath the tree in silence, savoring the precious moments that they had together.
“When do you leave?”
Kora could hear the slow beating of Kyle’s heart through his chest.
He kissed the top of her head and stroked her red curls.
“The day after the tourney.”
Her disappointment rang in her voice as she lifted her head to look into his eyes.
“Soo soon, well I’ll just have to give you something to remember me by, won’t I.”
Giggling she pulled his unresisting body down into the long grass, as two pairs of bloodshot, eyes watched from the darkness.