Tarik hunted Darkfire castle for Alistair, praying the young prince wasn’t doing anything foolish, Both King Henry and Prince Thomas had spent a great deal of time at the castle over the passed few weeks trying to sort out some kind of peaceful resolution to the current situation and Tarik had been torn about telling them about Alistair.
He’d finally decided it was best to keep things to himself, until at least he know more of the young princes condition. Alistair appeared to be for the most part to be dead however he still functioned, his intelligence remained intact however a bestial nature now lurked beneath the surface a nature that fed off death distraction and mayhem but most off all off blood.
Food no longer satisfied the young prince and during the first few days as much as he tried to keep up the pretence of eating normal food, it was obvious to all it no-longer satisfied his hunger, and after a few close run in’s with the residence of the castle Tarik quickly realised he needed to find another way of satisfying his hunger before the servants appeared on Alistairs menu.
Daylight had also begun to affect the young man, at first the glare hurt his eyes but now his skin would burn under its light and each day it got worse, he became less the man he once was, and more desperate, more dangerous to have around and Tarik needed a solution and quick.
Heading to the main hall to continue his search, Tarik stopped suddenly, Maria stood in the entranceway bags in hand. “Maria” he smiled embracing her “What are you doing here? I sent your children home with Prince Thomas days ago”.
“I know” she replied, ” I’ve bought them back”
“I’m not sure I understand” Tarik replied “is your husband with you?”
“No” Maria replied, ” I’ve left him, I’ve come to be with you”.
Tarik looked confuse “Come talk with me, tell me what’s going on?”.
Maria followed Tarik into his study sitting down, she explained how when she’d woken up in the barracks after the run in with the soldiers she’d realised that she felt like she had to get back to Tarik, she’d not been fit to leave right then but as soon as she was able she’d packed up the kids and headed back to the mountains.
At the end of the story Tarik sighed heavily, he didn’t have the time to deal with this now. He’d always known Maria had never really accepted Tariks choice to take a wife other than her, she’d been prepared from birth to be his wife and as such she’s never allowed herself to give Jed a chance to mean anything to her, back at the barracks the fake Tarik had ordered her to defend his retreat and Maria as loyal is ever had done so almost costing her life.
Now as she sat there looking hopefully Tarik had to make a difficult decision, on the one hand Maria wasn’t happy in her marriage and he didn’t want to reward her loyalty by sending her back to where she’d be unhappy however the relationship with Grimstead was tentative at best Prince Thomas looking for the smallest reason to storm into the castle and Tarik “stealing” another mans kids would certainly give Thomas reason enough, and if Tarik ever hoped to keep his people safe or have any chance of getting Quillen and his mother back together Tarik could not take that chance. He sighed again ” Maria you need to take the children back to their father”.
“What???” she gasped in disbelief ” you can’t no… I need to be with you!!!”
“Maria, you have a husband…. you can’t just walk out this his children”
“Please” she begged, with more emotion that her husband had ever seen from her “don’t do this, I hate it there”.
“Does your husband mistreat you?” Tarik asked.
“No” she replied shaking her head ” but that’s not the point, I don’t love him”.
“Has he ever struck you? Struck the children?”
“He treats you well then??”
“Yes, I suppose”.
“Then what do you have to be unhappy about? many women have life worse… go back to him… be a wife, give him a chance”
“No” she wailed, ” I won’t, you can’t make me”.
“Do you still view me as your king?” Tarik asked simply.
“Of course” she replied
“Then do as I order, go back to your husband, be a wife a mother… you might find you like it”.