~The Market~ pg 7

They finally stopped at a ‘shop’ that was filled with both cloth and leather goods. Her eyes watered from the smell of the curing skins. The man who owned the shop stood up with a wide smile and shook Demil’s hand vigorously. “Demil, you old devil, so nice to see you out of the sun.” 

“Likewise, Grant. How is the misses?” 

“Still the purdiest thing you ever pulled out of the forest. No offense ladies,” the man looked over Demil’s shoulder to nod at the women but he did a double take when his eyes rested on Fiora. His eyebrow rose and he licked his lips. “Though I dare say, this new one may have done it.” Fiora shrank back with a shudder at the man’s leer. He fixed Demil with a calculating stare, “Is she, ah… taken?” 

Fiora felt heat rise around her neck as her eyes widened at the implication. Only the Wisdom could give a Bloom to a man. That was the law of Kavaccet. And the very law that the Birchwood brothers defied, she reminded herself. Besides, down here at the underground market… she didn’t expect she’d find a plethora of strict law abiding citizens. They were all hiding from the eyes of Kavaccet here. 

Demil turned to give her a glance, his expression turning sympathetic. He started to open his mouth to answer but before he got any words out Fiora had a sudden instinct to step forward and cling to his arm. He met her gaze with a curious one and she prayed he would read her caution. She didn’t want this man, or any man here, to think they could ‘take’ her. He nodded in seeming understanding even as Grant swore in his assumption. “Tears of Wisdom, Demil! You already have four wives!” 

Wives? … Plural? With a rush of embarrassment Fiora peeked over her shoulder at the smiling women she had assumed to be bar maids and hoped they had not read her thoughts. The  sudden radical shift in perspective left her dizzy and she held on tighter for stability. Turning back to Demil, if he knew her error, his face didn’t show it, but it did show something else. Something that made her heart beat faster and her breaths shorter.  

Without looking away, he answered Grant’s indignation. “And yet, I never took any of 'em until after they'd fully chosen me first.” The way his finger stroked the back of her hand… was that an invitation? The rest of the world faded away as he continued to stare and she was drawn into his eyes. There was something so familiar and comfortable in their depths. A warmth that would surround and protect. For the first time, she actually considered it; staying here in Brittner, forever lost in Demil’s gaze. With a sharp intake of breath she realized she could be happy here with him and his eyes blazed as if he knew her discovery. Flames of passion and desire danced under his eyelids… just like Civyl’s eyes… 

Civyl! 

The End

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