the war is finally over, but there is still work to do
|prompt: sex and politics
word count: 3048
The rap of knuckles at the door was like a swift slap to the back of her head. Katarina pulled the covers up over her head, trying unsuccessfully to shield herself from the noise. The doors flung open as a tall slender woman strode quickly through them. With long strides, the woman soon reached the opposite side of the room and ripped the curtains open, freeing the harsh afternoon sunlight.
“It is past, midday, M’Lady and there is much to do,” she said, turning towards Katarina.
“Where is Danny?” Katarina asked, sitting up and stretching her tired limbs, the bed sheet falling away from her tanned skin.
“His majesty has meetings with generals and other delegates all day in order to finalize the treaty.” The woman handed Katarina a light blue robe as she spoke and Katarina wrapped it around herself.
“He should have woken me,” Katarina said furrowing her brow.
“He asked that we not disturb you until absolutely necessary, M’Lady. I believe he hoped for you to be well-rested for the feast tonight.”
“If he does not need to rest, then neither do I, Abigail,” Katarina replied as she stood, wincing slightly.
“Come with me, Lady Katarina. A warm bath will help soothe those sore muscles.”
Although Katarina was resistant at first, she soon found that Abigail was correct; the bath did help with her minor aches. In fact, if Abigail had not been there to order her out, Katarina might have stayed in the tub all afternoon. She did emerge from the water, though, at Abigail’s behest, and the young woman soon went to work at weaving Katarina’s long, dark tresses into small, thick braids down her back. She then pinned them up in different directions creating an intricate and beautiful pattern. Abigail stood back, eyeing her work appreciatively. She removed Katarina’s robe and began rubbing oils on her body, giving her light-brown skin a shimmery glow and a faint lavender scent. Abigail grabbed the dress she had earlier laid over a chair and slipped it over Katarina’s head. She tapped a long, slender finger against her chin and then snapped her fingers. Quickly, she lightly dabbed some red paints onto Katarina’s cheeks and lips and lightly outlined around her eyes with coal.
“Perfect,” Abigail said clapping her hands together.
Katarina inspected herself in the mirror. “I cannot wait until these feasts are over and I am allowed to dress myself again,” she began, “but this is incredible, Abigail.” She smiled wide, her white teeth striking from behind her plump, red-painted lips.
“Thank you, Lady Katarina.”
“This dress is so different from the one last night,” Katarina said, swaying the light, golden fabric back and forth and running her hand along the neckline that plunged down just below her collarbone.
“This style is common for the heat of the summer. The dress for your wedding needed to be modest.”
Katarina smiled, then walked over to the bedside table and picked up her dagger, belting the holster around her thigh.
“I requested that the seamstress add a slit for that very reason,” Abigail said, her lips pulling up in a smirk.
“You are too good to me, Abigail.”
“You flatter me, M’Lady,” Abigail responded, her blonde ponytail swaying back and forth as she shook her head.
Katarina raised her eyebrows. “You said the king was meeting with his generals, correct?”
“I did, M’Lady,” Abigail answered slowly, suspicion evident in her voice.
“Where would those meetings be at, exactly?”
Katarina found her way outside the king’s office, soldiers standing at each side of the door. Squaring her shoulders, she attempted her sweetest smile.
“Is Dan – the king busy? I need to speak with him,” she asked.
“He is,” the soldier answered gruffly, looking down at her, “But for you, Lady Katarina, I think he would make time.” He gave her the faintest of smiles his battled-weathered face would allow.
Katarina smiled back at the man and quietly knocked her knuckles against the door.
“Enter,” a voice commanded from behind the door.
Katarina pushed the door open and slowly closed it behind her.
“Make this quick. Lady Katarina will kill me if I am late,” the king said without looking up from the parchment he was reading, his light brown hair falling in his eyes.
“You really should pay more attention to those visiting you, Danny,” Katarina said as she closed the distance between them, “An assassin would have killed you and fled before you could put down that parchment.”
“Assassins do not usually knock, “ Danny replied, smirking down at the parchment, “And I recognize your footsteps anywhere, Kat.”
Finally he did look up at her, his smirk disappearing as his gaze lingered over where the golden silk dress clung to the curve of her hips. His eyes locked with hers. Katarina took a deep breath.
“You left me this morning,” she stated flatly.
“I thought you would appreciate the extra sleep,” he said, his sheepish smile returning.
Katarina was unfazed, moving around the desk to close the distance between them.
“Everything we have done until now has been together, Danny,” she said, “Just because I am your wife now does not mean I will allow you to push me out.”
“Katarina,” he said, nearly purring the “r”s of her name in a perfect imitation of her native language, “I would never dare consider such a thing.” He stood, reaching down to stroke her face, but Katarina pulled away.
“You are still upset with me,” he stated, raising one eyebrow.
Katarina looked away, unanswering.
“Kat,” his tone was authoritative, but betrayed just the slightest hint of pleading.
“This morning,” she said, turning her head to face him, “You kissed me.”
“Yes?” he answered, eyebrow still raised.
Daniel looked at her hard before his mouth turned up into a smile and a snort escaped his nose.
“What?” Katarina asked, crossing her arms over her chest.
“I’m sorry, Kat,” Daniel replied, pinching the bridge of his nose, “It is just – is that a serious question?”
Katarina scowled in response and began to walk away before Daniel grabbed her arm and pulled her to him.
“No, Kat, I’m sorry. Really. I just – I kissed you because I wanted to. I did not realize that – that it would upset you.”
“I never said it had upset me,” Katarina said defensively, biting her lip.
“No, but obviously it did.”
Katarina found herself in a faceoff with him, both intent on holding their ground. Finally, she broke.
“It is not about that, Danny.”
Daniel blinked several times. “Then, what is it about, Kat?”
“Kat?” his tone was definitely pleading now, the commanding nature vanishing.
“I do not know,” Kat answered quietly.
Daniel put his hand on her cheek again. This time Katarina allowed him. His eyes searched hers.
“Tell me what you want from me, Kat. Do not think, just answer me honestly.”
Katarina bit her lip and continued looking into his eyes, caught in his brilliant blue gaze.
“I want things to be like they were before,” she answered her dark eyes narrowed in concentration, “but,” Katarina paused as she took a deep breathe, “I also want you to kiss me again.”
Daniel stroked his thumb gently across Katarina’s bottom lip, leaning down and slowly closing the gap between them until his lips just grazed across her own.
“Okay,” he said before pressing his lips to hers.
His kiss was soft and sweet, his lips moving gently across Katarina’s in a delicate fervor. His hand slid down from where it rested on her cheek to her neck, his thumb stroking her jaw and his fingers wrapping around the base of her neck, holding her close to him. His other hand slowly grazed down her bare arm, soft from the oil Abigail had applied earlier. He brought his hand around her waist, pulling her back with him towards his vacated chair. Almost effortlessly, he picked her up and sat her on his desk. He pulled his lips away from hers, running them tenderly down her neck, his hand moving from her waist to the hem of her dress, gradually exposing more of her leg as he moved the slit further open. She could feel him smile against her neck as his hand reached her dagger.
“Everything we have today is because of you, Kat,” he said between light kisses down her neck, “We all owe you a great deal, no one more so than me.” He kissed down her chest. “I need you with me.”
Katarina ran her hands through his shaggy hair as his kisses went down her abdomen over the silk of her dress, her breath quickening with anticipation. Daniel moved the slit of her dress further open, hiking the silk up over her hips and placing a hand on each of her thighs. He sat down in his chair and placed kisses up her thigh, stopping when he reached the area where her leg met her hip. Katarina gently tugged at his hair, trying to pull him towards where she needed him, but he resisted.
“This dress is very convenient,” he mumbled as he nibbled at her inner thigh.
“Danny,” Katarina whined, cringing at the pathetic sound.
But the plea did its job as Daniel finally moved his mouth to where she craved him. Katarina’s grip on his hair loosened as she fell back on the desk, unknowingly knocking over stacks of parchment in her pleasure muddled state of mind, the soft hiss of “yes” escaping her lips. Her back began to arch higher off the desk as Daniel’s tongue continued its torturous ministrations between her legs. The slit of the dress allowed Daniel to spread her legs farther apart and Katarina made a quick mental note to give Abigail a raise as the now familiar buildup began to pool deep in her stomach. She cried out, unable to contain the moan in the back of her throat.
Just as the door to the office burst open.
Katarina did not need to look back at the unwelcome intrusion – the voice swearing in her native tongue made it obvious to the culprit’s identity. The door quickly slammed shut, leaving the couple alone again.
“He is dead,” Katarina huffed out breathlessly as she sat up on her elbows.
“Would you like to kill your brother or would you rather me continue what I was doing?” Daniel asked looking up at her and raising one eyebrow.
Katarina appeared to seriously consider each option for several seconds, reaching a decision only after Daniel nipped at her thigh playfully.
“Don’t you dare stop,” she hissed, lying back down on the desk.
“I can always kill him later,” she added.
Daniel went back to his task, quickly regaining the mood that had been temporarily shattered. Katarina’s back began to arch again as she cried out, a mixture of his name, affirmations, and unintelligible garbles fleeing her mouth. She reached her hands up by her shoulders and gripped the edge of the desk, the toned muscles of her stomach beginning to roll as waves of pleasure shot through her. Her moans soon turned to cries as the intensity hit its breaking point, her body freezing as her back curved, only her bottom and head touching the desk. She slowly lowered herself back onto the desk as her body started to unwind and her breathing began to slow.
Katarina sat up and reached for him, her hands greedily moving towards the waistband of his pants, but Daniel grabbed them in his own first.
“We have to go,” Daniel said, lifting her off the desk.
Katarina frowned, not attempting to hide her disappointment.
“Tonight,” Daniel purred in her ear, the promise sending shivers down her spine.
Katarina straightened her dress and took Daniel’s hand, allowing him to lead her out the door to the banquet hall, blushing at the knowing glances from the soldiers stationed outside the door.
They were the last to arrive at the banquet hall. Most of the delegates and their families had already found a seat at one of the large, long tables, the leaders taking their places at the head table that sat on a raised platform above the rest. The room was jovial, drinks and conversation flowing freely among the diverse group.
Daniel offered his arm to Katarina and she took it, wrapping both arms around it and pressing her body to his. They made their way through the room and stepped up on the platform to their chairs at the center of the table. Katarina's father and brothers were already seated next to her empty place. As the two made their way past them to their seats, Katarina closed her fist and landed a light, but solid, jab to the back of her brother's head, causing him to lurch forward in his seat. He rubbed the back of his head, but did nothing in retaliation, causing their father to look back and forth between them suspiciously. Slowly the conversation had begun to die down, the hall falling completely silent once they reached their chairs in the center of the main table that faced the others. Daniel pulled out Katarina's chair and she took a seat, but remained standing himself. The party looked to him expectantly. He lifted his cup and spoke.
"We are all here in celebration of a new era of peace. Long ago, but not nearly as long as it seems now, I made a promise to end the tyrannical reign of my father and the war my ancestors had brought upon us. With your support, I was able to keep that promise."
"Here, here!" a voice called out from the crowd, followed by a round of cheers. Daniel waited for the crowd to quiet before resuming.
"But there is still much to do. A century of fighting has left the world divided and distrustful. But through this new alliance, now sealed with the union between myself and the famed warrior Katarina of the Northern Tribes, I know that we can make the world whole once again."
Daniel took this moment to lay his hand gently on Katarina's shoulder before continuing.
"In fact, without the bravery and sacrifice of Lady Katarina, we would still be fighting today. She is the reason we are all here. And with that in mind, I ask that she be the first to place her mark on our agreement."
Katarina's eyes opened wide. She scanned the room, expecting an objection, but none came. Her eyes settled on her father next to her, who had stood from his chair. Her brothers followed suit, all three men lifting their cups toward her. Slowly, more of the crowd imitated the gesture until everyone was standing. She turned back to Daniel, who was also mimicking the crowd. The high priest left his seat and approached her from the other side of the table, pulling out the rolled parchment from his leather pack on his hip. He unrolled it, dramatically displaying it to the crowd before laying it on the table and securing it with weights he pulled from his pack.
Katarina took a deep breath and looked back at the crowd. Realizing she should speak, she said the first thing that came to mind.
"Let's do this."
She had not meant to speak in her native language or to shout the battle cry of her people, but her mouth had worked faster than her brain. She prepared herself for silent glares. Instead, she heard Daniel repeat her cry, rhythmically slamming his hands against the table like a drum in time with each syllable. Her family and fellow tribesmen followed, chanting and pounding the table, and soon the entire banquet hall had joined in. Reinvigorated, Katarina pulled her dagger from its holster around her thigh and put the long blade to her thumb, pressing into her flesh until a small trickle of blood pooled from the open cut. She re-holstered her blade and pressed her thumb to the document, imprinting her identity on the page, and blew over the mark to dry it. The priest removed the parchment from the table and held it up again, displaying the signature to the crowd. A loud, raucous cheer spread through the mass of people. The priest laid the treaty back on the table and Daniel took out his blade and repeated the gesture on his own thumb, placing his mark next to Katarina's on the parchment as chants of "Hail King Daniel" spread through the hall. The priest continued the procedure with each ruler, moving the parchment down the table, the crowd getting louder as each bloody thumbprint was added to the document.
Distracted by the noise, Katarina had almost not noticed Daniel pulling a cloth from his pocket and pressing it against her thumb. He tenderly pulled her hand up to his lips and placed a light kiss on her palm. Katarina bore her eyes into his studiously, causing him to raise an eyebrow, bemused.
"I cannot believe a year ago I wanted to kill you," she said, her voice thoughtful.
Daniel smiled. "Too be fair, you wanted to kill your own brother only just today."
Katarina snorted. "You know what I mean. Everything is so different now."
"Because of you, the whole world is different now, Kat."
Katarina looked away in an attempt to hide her blush. She turned back to face him.
"There is still so much to do," she said quietly, her eyebrows furrowed together.
"There is, " Daniel agreed, "but we will do it together."
Katarina brought her lips to his, unable to conceal her joy any longer. Since she was a small girl, she dreamed of the day the war would end, the day her people would no longer suffer, the day she would find closure for her mother's death and the deaths of so many others. Though she never lost hope that day would come, she never thought it would come like this.
But sitting here, in this room with all these people she respected, that respected her, next to the man she used to hate and now trusted more than anyone in the world, drinking her favorite blackberry wine, she knew this was meant be.
She had never felt happier.