After waiting for a few minutes to see if anyone else intends to visit you for any reason you pad over to the entrance of the tent and push the flap to one side. Instantly the two muscular guards notice you and pull the opening material out of your way.
With a smile of thanks you come forward and look around you. Since you entered to eat, many more tents have been erected near yours, forming a sort of circle. Off to one side you see an outdoor fire with many more people gathered around it. You think you see Temullgei with his back to you, seated and eating, so you hurry off in the opposite direction, putting your current home in between the pair of you.
A few seconds later a young man notices you. His eyes go wide and he stares until he remembers something and falls to his knees before you, mumbling a phrase you think you might have heard before. An awkward pause develops while he continues to bow before you, his hands on the ground and his forehead not far off.
“Angel?” Temullgei calls from behind you. As you turn he comes up to place his hand on your elbow. “Do you not wish to rest?”
“No… I… I know so little of your people. I thought I could talk to your tribe.”
“You have my apology, angel. Only Khaads and our Khaadain can speak your language, and not even all of those. My tribe cannot tell you more.”
“Ah.” You hesitate and look away. You’ve been caught outside sneaking around.
After a nod he speaks to the man at your feet and encourages the stranger to go.
“Angel, you need not fear. I know you come from another place and feel a desire to go back, all Angels have done. Come, let us go talk. I will tell you what I know.”
Before you can reply he puts pressure on your arm to steer you back the way you came. It doesn’t seem overly forceful but you doubt the wisdom of refusing him and walk at his side.
The guards nod at you on your return and once again hold the entrance open for you. You stifle the sigh that threatens to escape your lips and pause just inside. Temullgei comes in front of you and frowns.
“I think you are frightened. Frightened of my intentions and frightened for your safety,” he says and pauses while his eyes move slowly down from your face before they snap back to your eyes. “You have no need to be scared, Angel. Your beauty will not lead to… pressure, is that the right word?”
You nod, aware he’s picked up on some of your fears if not all of them.
“I will not pressure you to give me any favours you do not wish to, and I shall not permit others to.” He smiles and comes to take your fingers. Your breath catches in your throat as he lifts the back of your hand to his mouth and presses it to his lips.
“Come, sit with me and we will talk.”
He keeps your hand in his, giving you little choice but to follow where he leads. You sit with him putting more distance between you than before. If he notices he pretends he hasn’t.
“It is true, you are the first female Angel to come to our people, but you are not the first Angel, and all those before you have been treated with respect by my tribe and many other tribes. You need not fear me, my people, or your future. I will ensure you are taken care of and protected for as long as you are with us.” He says these words while looking directly at you, his gaze steady and a gentleness in his eyes and tone, but a slight hint of something creeps in as his focus moves from your face again. If his words are true and you’re safe with him it doesn’t exclude the desire he’d hinted at several times now.
“There have been Angels before now?” You ask, wanting to steer the conversation away from yourself and find out a little more about his tribe’s attitude towards you. He nods.
“Three in our records. You are the last predicted.”
“Yes. It is why I learnt your language. The Khaadain knew you were coming. I have been waiting my whole life to meet you.” His chest swells as he gazes at you and his pride is evident. “I will have the honour of presenting you to our Khaadain when we reach them. There you can teach us as the Angels before have done.”
You look away, stunned by all he’s saying. These people think you’re a messenger or godlike creature but you’re only a human. Whatever he thinks you’re here for, you doubt you are. You contemplate telling him that you’re not what he thinks you are, but a yawn escapes you.
“You are tired. We can talk more when the sun is in the sky once again.” He places his hands under your arm, lifting you to your feet as he gets up himself. Before you can protest he steers you towards the bed.
What do you do?
Go to bed and keep your secret.
This story is entirely free to the reader and will continue to be throughout, but as you might have gathered from the website around this I make my living from writing fiction. This post is just under 1000 words long and took me a few hours to write and polish. Although it’s definitely not a must, if you enjoyed this and want to say thank you in a monetary fashion please consider becoming a patron of mine at Patreon (a lot like kickstarter but more of a pledge per episode/installment sort of thing). You can also say thank you by sharing this with friends who might enjoy it or dropping me a message here or through my email address.