Mark of Pride

“What about this one?”

A delicate finger traced over the long scar that ran down the side of his jaw, it was a thin wisp of silver against his dark skin, trickling down from his lobe almost to the point of his chin.

“My brother challenged me to a sword fight. I was unable to refuse.”

“And this one?”

Nightshade touched the tip of his pointed ear, where a chunk of flesh was missing.

“…A wild dog.”

She laughed, and he gave her a stern look, earning himself a wink and a giggle in reply.

“I was very young.”

“I can’t imagine you being young. I think that’s a lie. You were probably born looking the way you are now.”

“That is not physically–”

“It’s a joke, lover. Just a joke.”

She pushed the cascade of silver hair away from his shoulder and looked at the scar that rested there. It looked like a hand print, with a symbol at the center of the palm. She traced along the fingers of the hand, and then brushed over the curves of the symbol, mesmerized by the intricacy of the scar.

“That is my House symbol. When a man in my village is of age, he is marked with that scar. It is a mark of pride among us.”

“Do many get that honor?”

“Some are exiled. My father was not a kind or lenient man… He believe his power and rule to be absolute. He did not take pity on the weak.”

“Your mother must have been amazing.”

“She was,” Vost smiled at her, catching her hand before she could pull it away. “She taught me how to love, how to show mercy and compassion. My father saw it as a weakness, but he let her have her way. He did not have much choice in the matter.”

Nightshade laughed, kissing the mark on his shoulder before she replied, eyes ghosting over the rest of his torso to take in the other scars that told his story.

“Sounds like I would have liked her. What about this one? That looks like it would have hurt.”

The wound was over three inches in length, a thick knot of tissue that rested on his abdomen. Night knew that if had to have some from a bullet or blade, something intended to kill its target, and yet here Vost sat, alive and well. She almost hummed in appreciation, but it might have been misconstrued.

“You would have gotten along quite well, I believe. She would have approved of you,” he glanced at the wound to which she had been referring, not looking at her as he replied. “I was stabbed by a spear… They intended to run me through, but they did not anticipate my being armed. I believe part of the blade lodged in my spine, but I cannot be certain.”

“Who tried to skewer my man?” Night growled softly, tipping his head up so her eyes met his.

“One of the guards keeping you in that dungeon I rescued you from,” Vost replied, unable to lie to her. “You were in too much pain to notice when your blood mixed with mine… You were bleeding too much to tell the difference.”

“You should have said something.” She snapped at him.

“And cause you further distress? There was no point in my telling you when you could do nothing about it. It has healed quiet well, despite the stress I put on my body at the time.”

“Still…”

“Should it not make you proud for “your man” to be so strong? I was under the impression scars impressed most women.”

Night chuckled, slipping her arms around him, resting her head against his, holding on tighter than was strictly necessary.

“I’ve got to stop Mordecai from giving you life-lessons.”

“…I find them very enlightening.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of.”

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