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Are you ready for more fluffy Fie Eoin? If you missed Part 1 you can find it here.
Carrick was good with a weapon, that much was true. He handled Fennec’s sword like a warrior. The men who made the swords ought to know how to wield them, Kindra supposed, and although she hated to admit it the new sword was much better than her father’s spear.
“So,” Carrick sheathed Fennec’s sword as Kindra studied her own. “What do you think?”
There were no nicks on the blade, no marks from her father’s much larger sword. Granted, they hadn’t fought hard, but she could see the quality and knew it would be the envy of all Fie Eoin, not just Pike. That alone might be worth accepting the gift.
“It’s very nice.”
“Easier to wield?”
“Then you like it better than the spear?”
She frowned as she sheathed it in the leather he had provided, but kept it in her hands. The spear had been by her side almost every day since her father died. It reminded her of her promise to him, and made his distance that much easier to bear. “No. I like the spear better.”
The smile on his face faltered for a moment. “I could make you a spear.”
“Oh no. It’s going to take me a long time just to pay for this.”
“I already told you – the sword is a gift. No payment necessary.”
That, above all else, she didn’t trust. Kindra learned a long time ago that you paid for every kindness you received, whether it was in goods, services, or kindness returned. She didn’t want to be indebted to anyone.
“Well then I will be gifting you back for a long time to come.”
He stepped closer. Too close. She tensed, her knuckles going white on the hilt of her sheathed sword even as he held the other loosely.
“You don’t owe me anything, Kindra. Unless you want to freely give it.” His hand moved to the back of her head and he pulled her closer, kissing her.
Carrick was very lucky that the new sword was already sheathed, because it was at his neck as soon as she felt his lips press against hers. She pushed away and held it there, although it would do no harm.
“Woah!” He stepped back and laughed. “Do you always try to kill your suitors? Perhaps your warrior name should be Praying Mantis.”
“What do you think you’re doing?” She wanted to cut that self-assured smile right off his face.
He looked puzzled. “You’re a warrior now. I thought your mind would have turned to the future. Marriage.”
“It certainly hasn’t.”
“Maybe it should. You’re of age, you’ve fulfilled your wish to become a warrior. It’s time to settle down, find a husband, start a family.”
“I don’t want a husband or a family. I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself.”
“I can see that.” He looked down at the sword that was pointed harmlessly at his throat and she lowered it, reluctantly. It was still between them, keeping his distance.
“Think about it, Kindra. You’re the last Odion warrior. The end of the God’s line. You’re the only hope He has to continue his mortal blood in the Tribes. Would you deny Eoin his heir?”
“If the God wanted an heir so badly he would have given my father a son. As far as I’m concerned He doesn’t seem to mind me being the end of the line.”
“But I’m the perfect match for you.” He stepped forward despite the sword and put his hands on her arms. “We are both of the highest families in our tribe. We both have strong Faye blood. You can be the warrior and I can provide you with the finest weapons Fie Eoin has ever seen. It would be the most powerful union since Eoin and Trina!”
Kindra stepped away from him, from the look in his eyes that said it wasn’t her he wanted, but her family name. He didn’t care about her any more than all those women who came to Fie Eoin to win the flute of a warrior. They just wanted power.
“I thank you for your gift, Carrick Wain, but I will not be able to accept it.” She laid the sword on the ground and stepped back, wishing she had her spear now more than ever.
The spark in his eyes vanished with his smile. “I told you, I can’t sell it. Even if I could no one could afford it.”
“Neither can I. I won’t pay your price.”
His smile returned. “Marrying me is not my price. The sword is yours, Kindra. I just thought…”
“You just thought I’d fall head over heels for you when you showed up with a sword?”
His grin turned sheepish. “I thought it couldn’t hurt. It seemed a better idea than showing up with a flute.”
She crossed her arms. “It was. I would have chased you straight out of Fie Eoin if you showed up with a flute. We’ve barely spoken since we were twelve.”
“That’s why I made the sword,” he said softly, “so I would have a reason to talk to you.” He looked down and scratched the back of his neck. “And so I could have an excuse to watch you practice all summer.”
Kindra almost blushed at the confession. The idea that someone would want to watch her practice was unsettling. The thought that someone other than Gar had been waiting patiently for her to become a warrior so they could propose marriage even more so. Perhaps Gar’s flute was not as much out of charity as she thought.
“Well, I’m not marrying you,” she said. “I’m not marrying anyone. I don’t need a husband, I don’t want a husband, and I’m not comfortable with the thought of anyone wanting me. So you can take your sword and go home now.”
“I’m not taking the sword.” He crossed his arms.
“Re-forge it into something else.”
“I can’t. This metal can’t be re-forged. It’s not like iron.”
Kindra looked at the sword on the ground, not wanting to yield but realizing that he wouldn’t either. She hated feeling that she owed him, and she vowed she would pay him back – even if it took the rest of her life to do so. “Fine.”
He picked it up and held it out to her with a winning smile. “If you change your mind you know where to find me. If not,” he shrugged. “Good luck finding your name, Warrior Odion.”
“Good luck finding a wife, Carrick Wain.”
He chuckled as she took both swords and headed back to her tent as quickly as possible. The Goddess Trina had ignored her for a long time, but it seemed She’d turned her attentions on Kindra with a vengeance.