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Kia opened her eyes, groaning as her head and side throbbed. The sun was already high in the sky and she had slept away the whole morning. She rolled over in the hot sand. Scrambling to her knees. The events of the previous night came rushing back.
The pounding of hooves across the Arabian sand, the yells for her blood that rang through the recently still air, the heaving of her chest and the burning of her wound that bleed profusely with every jolt of her horse.
The horse! Where did she go?! She asked herself shakily climbing to her feet. Her wound had dried but it still burned. Kia looked down at her clothes that had been ripped apart and now barely covered her. But modesty was far from her mind. Kia had to find her horse. Searching the barren landscape for her black Arabian proved useless, she hoped that the horse made it to water. As Kia licked her lips and tasted the gritty sand in her mouth she realized that she too needed water. She had absolutely no idea where water could be but she set off across the sand anyways.
Kia stumbled in the sand for the millionth time, just as her vision began to blur and she toppled over. She collapsed in the sand. Wavering in and out of consciousness, lying in the hot sand, was all she could do. Her voice was failing, not like it would help her. Sleep. Her brain told her as she closed her eyes again. A hot breeze hit her just as voices reached her ears.
She woke up to music and chatter. It was soft but definite. Kia went to move but her body crumpled and she dropped back onto the pillows. She sighed her head still pounding but her wound had been wrapped and felt strangely pleasant. At the sound of the tent flap she peaked open her eyes. A young man stood over a trunk muttering to himself. Kia watched the man as he searched through the trunk, throwing it’s contents on the floor.
He must be rich, Kia thought looking at the rich purple clothing that fitted against him like almost a second skin.
He stood up, something grasped in his hand. Then he turned as if feeling her gaze. The deepest pair of golden eyes landed on Kia, they raked up and down her body. She shivered even in the dry heat. He smirked and laughed, “Well someone isn’t too shy, now is she?” Kia stretched for the blanket that she had thrown off, desperate to cover herself but it was of no use. He’d already seen all of her. He laughed again as he threw a red garment at her. Kia caught it and looked back up at the man. He turned his back to her and motioned for her to change. Kia smiled slightly. After a few moments of struggling she managed to pull on the garment. It was a rich red fabric, almost the color of rubies. Kia had never worn something so nice before and she was tempted to take it off to keep it from getting dirty. It fit snug against her muscles and it showed off her toned stomach.
“Not bad.” Kia jumped at the man’s voice, “Don’t worry kid I’ve seen better packages.” Her fists bunched and reminded herself she couldn’t kill the people that saved her.
Kia was forced to remain in the tent for the next couple of days. The women told her, that her wound had to fully heal before she was allowed to go out exploring or possibly leaving her saviors. But the young man often came to the tent to ‘check on her’ and even though Kia figured he only came to get out of work. She couldn’t tell him to leave.
The day Kia stepped from the tent she was surprised that she wasn’t near a town. But rather it was all tents like her own for miles and sand. Lots of sand. The man clasped her shoulder, “Well kid, what do you think of it?” He asked proudly.
“It’s...” Kia paused trying to think of a response, “A...nice.” He pouted for a second before laughing.
“Don’t worry it’ll grow on you.”
For Kia the next few days were a whirlwind. The man had decided that she was his new friend and that meant he took her everywhere. He took her hunting, which Kia had always excelled at hunting so it was no sweat when she had to take down the pack of wild dogs that had attacked the hunting party. Next he took her scouting, that proved harder than she thought it would have been and granted he did have to save her. Luckily he plucked her from the fray right before Kia would have been stabbed. His favorite place to take her was on fighting escapades, much her displeasure. Because instead of fighting it involved running. Away. While they carried bags with whatever they swiped on the way.
It wasn’t long till Kia and the man had made a name for themselves. They had been made into legends, seen as devils by the rich and clever tricksters by the commoners. It was then that Kia remembered that she had been forgetting something important.
“We’re thieves.” Kia mumbled to herself one night as she sat in front of the small fire that Caspar, the man, had built.
“Yah.” He replied, turning the desert pheasant that had been cooking over the fire. Kia sighed,
“We’ve stolen things. Don’t you feel guilty?”
“No.” He told her without hesitation, she stared at him.
“Alright I suppose I did at one point. I’ve been doing this for a long time, you’ll get used to it kid.” Caspar told her, his eyes cast on the ground.
“Liar.” She stated, “It does bother you. Caspar I know you don’t like stealing things from people.”
“What do you know about me?” he questioned, “No one knows about me.”
“I know you have a conscious. I know you don’t like stealing. I know that you’re the most stubborn person I’ve ever met. I know that if someone questions you, you’ll lie. I know you’re a coward, you can’t even stand up for yourself.” Kia stated firmly.
“Shut up!” He shouted, “You. Know. Nothing. About me.” He growled, teeth clenched, hands bunched. Yet he still wouldn’t look at her.
“You’re right. I don’t know. But who’s fault is that?!” she yelled climbing to her feet, “You don’t let anyone try to know you. Every time. Every god damn time someone tries to get close to you, you shove them away! What, you can’t trust people?!” Kia fumed, “And god damn it! Look at me!” He slowly looked up, golden eye burning, jaw set. Caspar rose from his spot,
“Alright. I’m looking.” His voice even, his eyes holding hers. Kia exploded. She reached him in two strides fists swinging. Her first swing hit him in the nose, the second swing he caught, keeping her in front of him. She struggled to pull away.
“Oh now you want to stop?” He asked, Kia froze. The tone of his voice chilled her to her core, “Sorry kid. You started this you’re going to have to end it.” Caspar twisted her fist and locked her arm behind her back. Kia grunted as she was forced onto the sand.
“You want to know about me kid? Alright ask away.” He growled.
“Why do you commit petty crimes?” She asked.
“Why should the rich have everything? I’m just giving back the money that was taken from the commoners.”
“How admirable. But you’re still a thief.” She spat.
“We, honey. That should be a ‘We’.” He chuckled, “Remember we are in this together.”
“I never wanted to do this.” Kia told him.
“But you certainly never opposed the fact that we were stealing. You went right along with it.” Caspar stated.
“I had no choice.” She replied.
“Oh really? No choice? You couldn’t have just left once you had fully recovered?” He asked amused.
“No. I had to repay my debt. Repay you for saving me.” Her arm hurt and Caspar’s grip only tightened.
“I never said you had to. That was all you.” He grinned, “It’s your damned pride that’s kept you here. You’re free to leave anytime.” Caspar grabbed her hair and tilted her head back. They remained inches away from each other. One with eyes full of fear, the other full of warning.
“Let’s not repeat this conversation again Kia.” He whispered letting her go. Caspar turned his back on her returning to the cooked bird. Kia sat frozen in the sand, terrified of him. She bit her lip, forcing herself not to cry. Kia crawled back to her spot and curled up into a ball. With her back facing him she let her eyes tear up and bit her sleeve as the first wave of sobs ripped through her.
Kia laid numb in the sand. Caspar had fallen asleep a while ago. He hadn’t talked to her, hadn’t tried to give her food, he only draped a blanket over her before he fell asleep. Kia pulled the blanket tighter as she stared at the sand. Her thoughts still remained on the fact that they were thieves. She didn’t want to admit that Caspar was right, not yet. The guilt and fear is just too much to get over. A soft mumble comes from Caspar, he’s dreaming about something. It must be a happy dream she thought seeing the slight smile on his face. She rolled over and studied the man. He looked so much younger when he was asleep. His face wasn’t tight, he looked peaceful. Caspar had more emotions when he was asleep then when he was awake. She sighed sadly, gazing at his beautiful face. Kia closed her eyes trying to relax.
Suddenly two arms roughly grabbed her and a hand clamped over her mouth. Kia struggled against the bulky man. She bit down on his hand, he cursed and pulled his hand back.
“Caspar! Wake up!” she screamed, “Caspar!”
“Shut up.” The man hissed wrapping a handkerchief around her mouth. She moaned, kicking her legs trying to catch a piece of wood in the fire with her foot. The man grumbled as he pinned her to the sand tying her up.
“Mmfph! Mmfp!” Kia looked over at Caspar who was struggling to clear away the sleepiness. She cried again, kicking and landing a kick to the man’s knee.
“Damn B*tch!” the man cursed loudly and somehow this jolted Caspar out of his sleepiness.
“Get away from her!” He yelled grabbing a dagger and advancing on the man. The man looked up at him.
“Stay where you are boy.” The man pulled out a large cutlass as he pulled Kia against him, placing it to her neck.
“Let her go.” Caspar ordered, but the man replied,
“Sorry boy but I would like the reward this little thing will bring me.” Kia saw Caspar’s eyes narrow in confusion, so much for keeping it a secret.
“Put the dagger down boy and stay where you are.” The man ordered pressing the blade against her neck and he drew a thin line across his skin. Her eyes widened in fear and she pleaded silently with Caspar to put down the dagger. Caspar finally dropped the dagger.
“Good boy.” The man chuckled, “Maybe you’ll live to see 25.” The man stepped backwards to a waiting horse, never removing the blade.
“Stay right their boy, I can easily kill her. They never said she had to be alive.” He reminded Caspar. He tossed Kia over the back of the horse. The horse whinnied, a soft groan came from behind her, and a pair of hands pulled on her hips. Kia looked up at Caspar as he set her on her feet. His mouth was drawn into a thin line, his eyes were sad. He removed the gag and cut the rope tying her. Kia sucked in a gasp of air and looked to the horse, and would have lost her dinner if she had eaten anything. The man laid in the sand the cutlass he had used on her was sticking out of his chest. She looked away quickly shutting her eyes.
“Go sit down.” Caspar told her softly, he pulled away from her. She grabbed his arm.
“Where are you going?” she asked with a frightened voice.
“I’m going to move the body. I’ll be back.” He removed her arm and walked over to the body. Kia stared after him.
“I thought I told you to go sit.” He said as he came back only minutes later. She nodded and slowly made her way back to the fire. She lowered herself down into the sand watching Caspar.
“Relax it’s safe.” He reassured her, pressing a piece of damp fabric to her neck, “Hold it there.” She did and he rummaged through his bag.
“Calm down.” He spoke softly handing her a piece of dried meat. Kia took it and ate it slowly as Caspar wrapped a bandage around her neck.
“Why didn’t you let him take me?” Kia asked after another awkward silence. He shrugged.
“I’d be lonely if you were gone.” He gave her a soft smile. She nodded looking down. They sat there silently neither wanting to speak. Finally Kia looked up and met Caspar’s gaze. They stared at each other; Kia searched his face for an answer. Caspar leaned closer, his hand drawing up to lightly touch her cheek. Her eyes closed and she silently prayed he wouldn’t pull back. She felt his breath on her face and then Caspar pressed his lips to hers.