Willow followed the jingle of keys on Dulaine’s wrist. The higher they climbed, the further the sounds of snorting horses and jousting lances faded into the distance. Dulaine paused in front of a heavy, wooden door marked ‘private’ and began to fiddle with the lock.
“My father’s study?” Willow wrung her fingers. “I’m not so sure about this, anymore.”
“Technically, your brother’s.” Dulaine turned the key and push the door open. “ Don’t worry - Andell approves of this.”
She folded her arms. Andell had been acting strange since the tournament started, and she didn’t appreciate Dulaine being so tight-lipped, either.
“Don’t look at me like that.” He ushered her inside and closed the door behind them. “What if I can’t be there to protect you?”
The room looked as if it belonged to a dead man: ordered once and never touched again. The walls were lined floor to ceiling with carved, oak, bookcases, holding charts, maps, and histories in alphabetical order. Willow knew, although it has been six years since their father passed, Andell still only came in to retrieve specific documents when absolutely needed. The fingerprints in the dust revealed his exact whereabouts. Dulaine grabbed the sides of the desk in the center of the room and pushed it against the wall. Willow grimaced, hoping it wouldn’t leave trails in the wood flooring.
He took off his shoes and motioned for her to do the same. She kicked her boots off and stood barefoot on the plush rug in the middle of the room. Although worn, the fibers felt familiar between her toes. She moved forward until she stood an arm’s length away from her friend.
“The best self-defense is to-”
“Run away.” She took a step towards him. “That’s what Andell wants you to teach me. I want you to teach me to fight.”
Dulaine rubbed his forehead. “Switch with me.” He took her by the shoulders and turned her around, placing his hefty frame between her and the door. “If you want me to teach you how to fight, then you have to prove you already know how to run.”
“Fine.” She ducked under his arm and made a dash towards the hallway. Before she got off the carpet, Dulaine hooked his fist around her elbow and dragged her back. She muttered, “Not fair.”
“Well, most people who’d put you in this situation wouldn’t be very fair, would they?” He grabbed her by the waist and hoisted her, shrieking, over his shoulder.
“Put me down!”
“You’re four feet off the ground. How are you going to run away now?”
She kneed him in the nose with her flailing, causing him to let go and sending her to land stomach. Flat on the ground, she grabbed the first thing she could to hoist herself up: his arm. Realizing her luck, she ducked to his back, dug her nails into the soft spot of his wrist, and wrenched his elbow behind him. Dulaine dropped to his knees in surprise. With her other hand, Willow reached into her apron and brought forth her sewing scissors. She aimed their point at his neck, shaking in time with her labored breathing.
Dulaine sputtered. “Who taught you that?”
“Sorry.” She bit her lip and removed the shears from his neck. “Rivek.”
“I see. He would teach you to fight dirty.” Dulaine stood. “We’ll continue this lesson tomorrow.”
.” Safety First
. - 097/100 Themes.
Dulaine and Rivek don’t get along at first. Dulaine is a noble gentleman, and Rivek is a slave scoundrel. Too bad Will kind of likes both of them.View on Tumblr: [link]More Art/Writing of These Characters:
Dulaine Whitebark and Willowren Solan belong to Grace Fong,