This story is written to @Dahob’s prompt to May 2015’s “Love Stories” theme. The fact that she is a warlord might have something to do with me watching Fury Road last weekend.
“He loves you very much.” The ambassador’s eyes followed the warlord’s slave as he left the room. He moved gracefully, like a predator. The chains around his wrists and ankles, shiny and decorative for all their strength, seemed to hamper him not at all.
“He loves me like a cat loves its human,” the warlord answered, her voice bored. “He knows where the roof and the warmth are, the food and the safety. Even predators like a safe space to sleep.”
“And is that all it is, then, practicality?” The ambassador leaned back in her seat, comfortable, for all that the warlord made a show of disdaining luxury. She had been chosen for this position because of many things, but one of those was her ability to see what people wanted. What the warlord wanted was likely to be of very high importance to her people, if they were to avoid war. What the slave wanted… that was important for other reasons. “That isn’t what I see in his eyes.”
“Aren’t we here to discuss border safety?” The warlord pulled over the broad map, on which was detailed her territory, the neighboring territory from which the ambassador came, and all surrounding areas. “The mountains are still protected by that clutch of beasts; nothing’s coming through there, and they won’t come down to the flatlands unless they’re hungry enough. The lake is pleasantly flat; we can see anyone coming from quite a distance. That leaves…”
“This territory here, which is where, I believe, your slave — or at least his people — came from, no?” The ambassador set a delicate finger on the map. “Tell me, have you ever thought of removing his chains? You would see how he truly feels about you then.”
“I’m sure I would. No.” The warlord raised her chin and studied the ambassador for a moment. Her next words came out soft and quiet, more introspective than her reputation would suggest. “He may love me as a cat loves its human. But in turn, I love him the way a human loves a cat.”
“Protective and possessive, and a bit maternal?” the ambassador suggested. Those did not seem like words to apply to the man who served at the warlord’s side.
The warlord shook her head. “No. With the certain knowledge that the love is not returned in nearly the same manner.” She leaned forward and splayed her hand over the map, covering the offending territory. “So. What resources is your boss prepared to commit to the border?”
The ambassador bent to the task at hand, but her gaze lingered on the slave. He stood in the doorway, taking everything in with eyes that were definitely human and an expression, the ambassador thought, that looked almost pained.
She had done what she could; she had gotten them both thinking about it. The rest was up to them. She leaned forward and focused on more trivial matters of border protection.Want more?