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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.



~~

"Anything?"

Wilhelmina looked over as Morton walked to her side. She slowly nodded, but she felt almost hollow in a way. Lucivar had sent a note that Daemon had been summoned to where Jaenelle was. She was ready to come home, but she still had a long way to go before she was healed. There was a hesitancy in Lucivar’s words that suggested the sister she loved was not the same anymore.

"Love?" The sound of that word coming from Morton still made Wilhelmina’s heart lighten. She gave him a soft smile.

"Lost in my thoughts," she said. "Prince Yaslana sent word. She’s ready to come home, but she still has to heal a good deal."

"Tersa was right," Morton said. "Only the kindred could believe enough to make it work."

"But we were never given a chance," Wilehlmina whispered. "And now we’ll never know. How can Jaenelle ever take that? The knowledge that we may not have been able to believe in her enough to heal?"

"We can’t focus on that," Morton said, folding into the seat beside her. His arms came around her and tugged her to his chest. "We have to focus on her healing and the future."

"Yes," Wilhelmina said. "Yes, we do need to focus on that now." She wanted to push away the hurt that so little faith had been placed in them, but it made her wonder at how true that lack of faith was. Would they have easily given up on the woman they all claimed to love and had waited for? Could she have given up on the only person, besides Morton, to love her without condition?

"Stop," Morton whispered. "I can feel your turmoil."

"She’s my sister," Wilhelmina whispered. "I know you all love her, but she’s the only family I have left. I just need to see for myself she is going to be okay, no matter how weak or hurt she looks right now."

"She’s not your only family, love," Morton said, his hand brushing along her arm. "You have me."

Wilhelmina lifted her head. Morton was looking down at her, his eyes full of a love she never truly thought she would find.

"Mor--."

"Marry me, ‘Mina," Morton said. "Marry me and we’ll never face the word alone again, no matter what happens."

Wilhelmina’s breath caught. She never expected this from him. She didn’t doubt his love, not anymore, but she never expected him to want to be her husband. She knew she had wanted him to be, but she hadn’t dared to hope it’s what he wanted as well. Now she had her answer.

"Yes, Morton," Wilhelmina whispered, her eyes filling with tears. "I will marry you." A kiss was all he gave her for a response. It was all she really needed.

~~

Wilhelmina had to take a moment. Daemon had come to let her know that Jaenelle wanted to see her. It had been three long months since the Blood had been purged from the Realms before Daemon had received word that Jaenelle was ready to return and heal. It had been almost two months since Daemon had brought her home, but hadn’t really let many see her so she could rest. Those who still felt tense towards Daemon for his actions leading up to the purge hadn’t taken well to being kept away from her. At first Wilhelmina had been one of them, until she realized something.

Jaenelle’s rest and recovery was more important than their need to see her. Hadn’t that been why the kindred had kept her apart so long?

Finally she tapped gently on the door, hearing the soft rumble of a male voice granting her access to the room. She pushed the door open, stepping inside. Daemon was just rising from the side of Jaenelle’s bed as she turned towards them.

"‘Mina," Jaenelle said, a tired smile crossing her features. Her voice was quiet, obvious exhaustion still present. She was so thin, her hair cropped short. She was just barely recognizable as the woman she knew. It was the most glorious thing Wilhelmina had ever seen.

"I’ll go ask Mrs. Beale to make some tea to be brought up while you two talk," Daemon said. He leaned over to brush the lightest of kisses, fighting the frown that wanted to form as Jaenelle’s skin colored every so slightly from the touch.

Wilhelmina nodded to Daemon as he passed before moving to the bed. She quickly sent a message to him on a staff thread.

*How careful must I be?*

*As gentle as possible,* he said in response. *She bruises very easily, but don’t let that keep you from being close. She’ll sense and know you are being overly careful. She just wants to be treated as normally as possible.*

She gave a silent acknowledgement as she carefully perched herself on the edge of the bed. The smile she gave her sister was warm, but shaky. She still worried for her little sister, and for once in her life, she felt like the protective big sister. For once she actually felt as if it was her responsibility to protect Jaenelle, not the other way around. She carefully slid her hand beneath Jaenelle’s and rested their hands on her own thigh.

"You look well," Wilhelmina said.

"Oh don’t lie," Jaenelle said. There wasn’t accusation in her tone, only slight amusement. "I know I look horrible."

"You look tired and injured," Wilhelmina said. "But you look well. And better than any of us had hoped since we thought we--." Sudden tears clogged her throat. It took her a moment to clear them away enough for her to resume speaking. "Since we thought we would never see you again."

"It was the only way," Jaenelle said softly. "Something had to be done and it was the only..." Remorse filled her voice and it had Wilhelmina shaking her head quickly.

"I’m not accusing, sister," she said quietly. "We understand, in theory, the burdens of who you were and what you were. But as Tersa reminded us, the Queen is gone but Jaenelle is enough. She was always enough. We didn’t want to face the idea of losing her."

Tears slipped from Jaenelle’s eyes. Wilhelmina could feel the joy from her sister, so she knew the tears were not those of sorrow or regret. They might come later, because of what was lost, but she understood that they would always love her regardless. There might be setbacks to come, as Wilhelmina could even sense that the deep well of power that Jaenelle once had was now blunted, but they would love and accept her regardless because she was Jaenelle. She was still Kaeleer’s Heart, their heart. That was all they needed.

"There is a glow about you," Jaenelle finally said, regaining some of her composure.

Wilhelmina blushed, looking down at her sister’s hand. "Is there?"

"I take it you made amends with Morton?" Jaenelle asked.

A soft smile formed on Wilhelmina’s face as she thought of the man she loved. She finally lifted her eyes to her sister. "He asked me to marry him."

Jaenelle’s fingers tightened on Wilhelmina’s hand, a soft smile forming. "He did?" she asked. "Oh please tell me you said yes!"

"I did," Wilhelmina said.

"Oh ‘Mina, that’s wonderful!" Jaenelle said. "When will it be?"

"We’ll marry when you are well," Wilhelmina said. "We want you to--."

"No," Jaenelle said.

Wilehlmina’s face fell. "What?"

"Sister..." Jaenelle started.

"No," Wilhelmina said. "No, we will marry when you are well and that’s final." She stopped as she felt her sister’s nails gently prick her skin. It was meant to hurt or to push venom into her from Jaenelle’s snake tooth, merely to gain her attention.

"Sister, I have no idea when I will be well," she said. "And I can not-- no, I will not expect you and Morton to wait until I am for you to be wed."

"But... we want you there," Wilhelmina said, her voice almost meek, hurt flavoring her words.

"I will be," Jaenelle said. "Even if Daemon has to carry me in and if I have to be seated the entire time. Or even if I have to leave early to go to bed. I will be at your wedding."

"We can wait, though," Wilhelmina tried again.

"‘Mina, listen to me," Jaenelle said quietly. "So much was lost, so much has changed. The happiness you and Morton will share as you wed will be the sign of a new beginning, a new future. One where we can all begin to heal and move on. Especially since we thought we were going to lose Morton. In reality, if not for him and Papa, we would have. You saw the damage done and what happened. You know--."

"I do," Wilhelmina said. "I know we should have lost..."

"But we didn’t," Jaenelle said. "And that, in itself, is a miracle. The Darkness was kind to us, sister. And your marriage to him is a sign that we will all be okay now. It may take some of us longer to be physically okay, but we will be okay. And the sooner we can celebrate that, the sooner we can start to put this all behind us."

"You promise to be there?" Wilhelmina asked.

"Not even the kindred would deny me seeing my sister’s wedding to one of my Brothers."

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