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[BLACK JEWELS FIC] Warlord of Glacia- 6/12

Title: Warlord of Glacia
Author: Jourdana Standish/queenmidalah
Fandom: Black Jewels
Pairing(s): Morton/Wilhelmina Benedict
Rating: PG-13
Warning: Mentions of violence; language
Word Count: 16,241
Summary: A tangled web is changed when a certain Warlord takes matters into his own hands; he finds himself fighting for his life instead of embracing death. He also finds love, but could lose it by a few careless words.



~~

"What are you doing?" Wilhelmina demanded as she hurried to put the tray in her hands down and push Morton back onto the bed.

"I should be with my Brothers," Morton said, trying to shrug off her hands. His body was still weak from the poison that should have killed him.

"You can barely stand, let alone fight," Wilhelmina said, easily pushing him back to the mattress, despite his attempts to wave her off. "You’ve been saved once, don’t go off and--."

"And what?" Morton demanded, anger lacing his words. "Get myself killed? Karla’s fighting to even be who she was again despite all that Jaenelle did for her. Glacia is under attack, Kalush and Arianna were almost killed. Jaenelle isn’t opening to anyone and Sadi keeps her sequestered--."

"Prince Sadi loves Jaenelle and loves this Court," Wilhelmina said firmly, but quietly. "Whatever she is planning or arranging, she doesn’t want us to know yet. So she is ensuring that Daemon is doing exactly what is necessary. Keeping the rest of us at bay."

She retrieved the tray she had been carrying and set it on a nearby table near the bed, before picking up the bowl and spoon. She scooped the healing broth up to offer it to him, but he turned away. She clenched her jaw.

"You need--," she started to say before Morton interrupted.

"Why do you care, Lady?" Morton said bitterly. "Why care now?"

"Because you need to eat something and I am taking care of you," Wilhelmina said.

"Because your Queen and my healer said so, hm?" There was such bitterness in Morton’s tone. The festering wound on his heart had been building since he regained consciousness and found Wilhelmina seeing to him. She had yet to mention the confession he had sent to her before succumbing to unconsciousness. He had thought that their tip toeing around one another had been a quiet dance of mutual interest, but all it appeared was one sided as she had diligently been his nurse while he was recovering and nothing more.

Wilhelmina’s anger snapped and she slapped the spoon into the broth, splashing them both with the warm liquid. She spat out a curse as she set the bowl down and grabbed a towel, mopping at her gown before wiping his chest, neck and face. Her lips lifted in a sneer when he tried smacking her hands away, anger radiating from him.

"Answer me," Morton growled when Wilhelmina rose from the bed.

"Why should I?" Wilhelmina snapped. "You are being an ass right now and need to eat then sleep."

"Oh of course, because you know so much about healing, what with no caste besides a witch," Morton sneered at her. When he saw her spine stiffen, he realized too late that he had said the wrong thing, allowing his frustration and anger to inflict pain on the woman he loved. Even if she did not return his sentiment, he had no right to hurt her because of it. And Saetan would have his head if he knew what he had just done.

Wilhelmina slowly turned, doing her best to hold back the tears that wanted to fall, but one treacherous droplet slid down her cheek as she stubbornly lifted her chin to the man.

"I am going to chalk that up to your frustrations over being confined to bed and unable to assist the other First Circle males with what is going on," she said, her voice strong but shaking. "Because the man I fell in love with would never be cruel on purpose."

Almost ready to argue and apologize at the same time, Morton felt the air leave his still working lungs at her last statement. "You... you love me?" he asked, his heart start to pound.

"Of course I love you," Wilhelmina said, anger replacing the hurt she felt. "And I thought you loved me based on the message you sent to me after... but maybe I was wrong."

"Wilhelmina, I--," Morton started as she moved to the tray of food, covering the bowl to keep it warm and placing a spelled bubble around the bread to keep it fresh.

"Rest, Lord Morton," Wilhelmina said, slamming an emotional shield in place so quickly that Morton visibly flinched. "When you are up to it, your food is here. I will come and check on you later."

"Lady Benedict." He tried again but she simply ignored him; her spine so straight that he worried she would snap something if she moved wrong. She never looked at him again, moving so quickly across the room that he barely had time to shift on the bed to even consider rising to stop her. Then she was gone.

With a frustrated moan, Morton slumped on the mattress. His eyes closed, internally berating himself for making a mess of the entire interaction.

"Great, Morton. Just... great."

~~

Karla glanced over to the door where her cousin leaned heavily on a cane as he entered the room. She felt such relief at seeing him up and moving, that she was able to push away the visions of her tangled web that showed death so easily. She knew, immediately, that her web, and his insistence to know what it contained, had saved his life. If not for the poisons he had been slowly consuming, he never would have survived the arrows that had pierced his body. There was something about how he stood, almost shielding himself, that she realized there was something bothering him.

"Cousin," Karla said, her voice a bit rough from the crying she had succumbed to when the pain had been the worst. She was lucky to even be alive, that much she knew.

"How are you feeling?" Morton asked, slowly making his way into the room. He could already feel his body tiring, which frustrated him to no end. Jaenelle had told him it would take time for him to regain his strength. Unlike his cousin, however, he would fully recover in time. Karla’s poisoning had been slow and deliberate, and when the final mixture had been included... well he knew she was lucky to be alive. Looking at Karla’s face, he knew that she knew it as well. Whatever ramifications she would face in the wake of it would be worth it to simply be alive.

"I’ve felt better," Karla admitted. She had days where she could joke about what happened, but she quickly learned that the humor was not wanted. And it simply hurt those around her.

"What about you?" Karla diverted attention from herself. "Working with the High Lord saved your life, Jaenelle said."

"I’m healing," Morton said. "Going to take time, but I am healing."

"Why didn’t you tell me what you were intending, Morton?" Karla asked. "When I told you about the web, why didn’t you tell me you were going to go to Uncle Saetan and ask him to make you a Black Widow."

"My intent wasn’t to become a Black Widow," Morton said. "But I did want to find a way to keep myself from being taken advantage of or killed when I should be protecting you."

"You could have died in the pursuit of this!" Karla said hotly. "I still could have lost you, so could have Wilhelmina!" Karla had been one of the few that knew of Morton’s affections for the dark-haired beauty. Her eyebrow arched sharply when she saw the wince that slashed across his face.

"What did you do, cousin?"

Too quiet. Why did she always have to speak in a too quiet voice? Why couldn’t she be straightforward and put him in his place? Didn’t he need that push, that immediate slap for what he had done?

"I... was cruel," Morton admitted softly, his voice full of shame. "I didn’t allow my mind to process what I was going to say before it left my lips. I said something she didn’t deserve."

"What did you say?" Karla asked. She felt an anger she never thought she would feel towards her cousin burning in her belly, but she had been listening to Jaenelle when she explained how scared her sister had always been, how inadequate Wilhelmina felt in comparison to Jaenelle. Who wouldn’t feel such a thing upon discovering their sister is Witch and realizing the amount of power that person held within their body?

Jaenelle had also confided that Wilhelmina felt as if she were less because she held no other caste. Yes, her jewels were darker once she made her Offering, but she was still a witch with no caste and Jewels that would be considered quite a disappointment in comparison to her sister. It didn’t matter that her Jewels outranked Morton’s, giving her the advantage when it came to Protocol; he was the First Escort to a Territory Queen and in the First Circle of the Queen of Ebon Askavi’s court. Wilhelmina had accepted an offer into the Second Circle, though she knew it had been a hesitant move and only done because of her familial relation to Jaenelle.

"What did you say, Morton?" Karla’s tone took on a sharp edge, warning her cousin that his answer would most likely displease her.

He wasn’t a fool, normally. He heard her tone, knew that his answer would anger his cousin a great deal. He knew he had a lot to make up for all because he was hurting; both physically and emotionally.

"I was an ass," Morton said quietly. A felt a slash of cold wash over him; knew stalling would do him no good. He barely heard the door behind him open. "I lashed out. Basically made her out to be a no one because she doesn’t have a caste beyond being a witch." The last of his words were spoken in a barely audible tone.

"You what?" Karla said coldly. "How dare you."

Morton couldn’t look at his cousin, visibly flinching away from the cold tone. "I’m sorry," he whispered.

"Sorry doesn’t take the words back, Warlord," Karla said. "Why would you--."

"Karla."

Mother Night, please no... One of the last people that Morton wanted to know about his stupidity was the High Lord.

"Did you hear?" Karla asked, the coldness in her voice not thawing as she addressed Saetan.

"I did," Saetan said. "But you should be resting."

"This can not go unpunished, High Lord," Karla said. "The words--."

"Cut a deep wound," Saetan said, walking over to the two people. He was fully aware of Morton shrinking away from him as he stood beside him. In Karla’s anger, she couldn’t taste the sorrow and remorse rolling off of her cousin. In her anger, she only wanted to defend a slighted Sister. While he knew that Morton understood that, he did not need his cousin’s anger to add to his own personal berating.

"Do you--," Karla started, pausing as Saetan lifted one hand. The slender fingers curled towards his palm until one remained straight. The black-tinted nails were a stark contrast against the paler skin of his palm.

"Lord Morton and I will discuss what he said," Saetan said. "In the meantime, I want you to drink the healing brew that Jaenelle ensured you had enough of and I want you to rest. I may need your assistance in corralling the rest of the coven and the boyos. I believe they want to embark on round two of trying to convince Jaenelle to go to war."

The way Karla’s face paled concerned Saetan beyond anything he possibly imagined. Especially as she leaned over to take the healing brew without being prodded to do so. Glancing sideways at Morton, he inclined his head, indicating the other man follow him. He was glad that the young Warlord didn’t protest and followed the High Lord into the hallway.

"She’s pissed at me," Morton said, his tone sounding as if he were ripping his own heart out.

"So I heard," Saetan said mildly. He sighed when he saw Morton wince. "I do not blame her, Warlord. You said something quite cruel and it will take much to repair the damage you created for yourself."

"I wasn’t thinking," Morton said immediately. "It just... I let my sore heart..." He looked away, shame washing over his body. "I was an ass."

"Yes, you were," Saetan said bluntly. "But not all is lost. Lady Benedict does understand that you were hurting, but unfortunately you struck the one part of her that has always been a very sore subject for her, especially considering who her sister is."

"I know," Morton said. "I just..." He ran his fingers through his hair. "There is no excuse. I should stop making them."

"I partially agree," Saetan said. He smiled slightly at the confused look in Morton’s ice blue eyes. "I do not think you are necssarily making excuses, at least not wholly. But you should stop hiding behind them. You need to make amends."

"I don’t even know where to begin," Morton admitted.

"An apology is as good a place as any."

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