Blood of the Ultains: The Tales of Bronherrn Chapter 39

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A Weary Heart

Bronherrn stopped on the path as he returned to his childhood home. Prillani sat singing to Brackliem in the swaying grass of the summer twilight. She cuddled his fat baby folds and smiled at him between lyrics.

His sense of duty to his wife took over. Walking around the area to surprise her from behind, he stalked her and covered her eyes with his hands, kissing her neck.

“Why didn’t you say goodbye?” She pulled away.

“I didn’t want to disturb you.” He massaged her neck and shoulders

She hugged the baby closer. “It’s not fair for you to just abandon us like that. After all we’ve been through. And Brackliem is so young.”

Bronhern’s chest ached. This was not the welcome he expected. Guilt burned deep inside him but he didn’t understand why and he grew angry. “I didn’t realize I needed permission to visit my holy land.”

She scowled at him. “You don’t need it. I just didn’t expect you would disappear after the journey we just took.”

He backed away and started pacing. “I didn’t disappear. I just took a quick trip. I was back before midday. My mother is here to tend you, as are my brothers.” He gestured to the house.

“And I’m sure you needed to go see Aethelwyn.” Prillani sighed. “I’m not blind. I know you care for her. I just thought we meant more.”

“You do.” Bronherrn stamped the ground. “She saved your life. She came to help us and we almost got her killed.”

“And I’m sure that would have destroyed you. The brave warrior loosing his mystical enchantress.” Prillani stood to go back inside. “I will never be able to repay her for what she did for us. She is an amazing goddess. And I can never compete with that.

Bronherrn grasped her shoulders and gazed down at their son. “This is not the battlefield. It’s not about winning.” He searched her watery eyes.  

“Then what is it about?” She stared up at him with heavy eyelids. “You went to The Otherworld and I am no fool.”

“I would never take you for one.” He kissed her forehead. “No one is like you. I do not intend to hide anything from you. You are my wife. I love you.”

“Truly?” She cast a doubtful look at him.

The baby cooed and they both gazed on him.

“Of course.” Bronherrn kissed her hand. “I will admit, I do love Aethelwyn. But not like love you. She was a boyish obsession.”

For a brief moment, Bronherrn believed that Prillani admired his honesty. She stood frozen as if contemplating this confession. Just as he began to relax, she carried their son back to the house, handed him to Mara at the doorway, and returned carrying two swords. She threw his at him wielding his mother’s. “How dare you speak to me as if it were nothing? You love her. You went to see her. Alone. After all we’ve been through. How am I to trust this?”

“Prillani, I was true to you.”

She thrust at him and clipped his elbow. “And how do I know that?”

“Because I was. And if my word’s not enough for you then you don’t know me.” He growled.

“I imagine she didn’t allow what you went to her for. You left, alone, unseen by anyone–” Prillani cried swinging at him.

“My mother saw me. She tried to stop me.” He winced at the words.

Bronherrn found himself parrying harder blows as her face grew fierce. He had not experienced this side of her in so long he was unprepared.

“If I am not enough for you, then leave.” She cut into his thigh. “Now fight me!”

“I have obviously hurt you enough.” He threw down his sword and stood arms out. “Please forgive me.”

“I may be out of practice but I can still best you!” she yelled as she stabbed his mother’s steel into his side.

Bronherrn knelt before her and stretched out his fingertips.

She stared down at him breathing heavy. Her eyes widened and she bit her lip. She dropped her weapon and rushed down to tend his wounds. “What have I done?”

He grasped her hands as she worked to stop the blood. He kissed the tears dripping down her face. He suddenly realized just how deeply he had wounded her and how wrong his intentions had been. “It is what I have done. You are my life. I chose you. I won’t go without you if I go again. I swear on my sword.”

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