Let's just be honest here, my biggest muse at the moment is Finn Bálor and I really love writing him. That being said, this is actually my first fic that I've posted featuring Finn (though it won't be my last). I've written a things with him and I'm holding onto it, just to see how this is received and then I'll throw up some more Finn stuff!
Also, there's quite a few more characters than will let me list. So, look forward to familiar faces like Baron Corbin, Roman Reigns, Dolph Ziggler, Tyler Breeze, and Paige! This is also one of the first things I've written in a leisurely fashion since halfway through my school career. It's really nice to finally get things rolling and I'm really hoping you guys enjoy it!
"You must make a choice, my prince. Either endanger the girl's life or send her away! She is no warrior; she is only an asset to the enemy. You cannot let your feelings for her blind your judgment as a commander and a warrior."
For the third time this afternoon, Finn Bálor heard those words. Every advisor he trusted had thrust the same solution at him. Send his mate away; keep her safe from being a pawn in the impending war. The suggestion alone made him sick; none of them had ever gone any amount of time without their mates close by. However, none of them were prince of the realm and none of them had as much to lose as he did.
Finn sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, "Do you understand the magnitude of what you ask me to do? To send her to a place where I can't protect her myself? To send her to a place that I can't reach should some tragedy befall her? If she dies..."
"You'll be able to watch her," Bartley interrupted. "During the full moon, every single month."
"Is that to be comforting, Bartley?" Finn asked.
"Prince Finn, the girl will be a distraction. She's dangerous to have in the realm with war on our doorstep! Our enemies know more about us than we ever wanted them to; times will be rough and she's likely to be caught in the crossfire if she remains," Bartley leaned forward and cast an imploring look at his prince, "Please, for the good her life and yours, for the safety of the realm. It's necessary."
Finn pushed away from his seat, the legs of the chair scraping loudly against the stone floor. Bartley was his family's oldest advisor, one of the last left from his grandfather's time as king. He didn't want to snap at the old demon, but his frustration made him tense. The muscles in his arms and shoulders bunched tight, and the familiar itch of his black demon eyes slipping over his normal ones made a muscle in his jaw twitch.
"Where do you suggest I send her, Bartley?" Finn hissed through gritted teeth.
"There's only one realm she's likely to fit in," Bartley stammered. "We've been watching them for months during the full moon and they seem competent. They're a pack..."
"Wolves," Finn roared. "You want me to send her off with wolves?"
"She won't raise suspicion among a wolf pack, my prince. They don't age and neither does she. She'll look like she fits, and she can use the magic within her to pass for a time."
"She won't like this," Finn said. "Not at all."
"Perhaps. But you must convince her. Would you rather her kept in a dungeon for her safety, miserable yet close to you? Or in a place where she can be free and remain undiscovered by our enemies? You can bring her back when the war has ended or you can let her stay. If she stays, they will find her and they will use her against you and your family, Prince Finn. Your mate, your princess, your future queen, is more than a token to barter with." Bartley said.
Bartley wasn't wrong, if Arienette stayed and was ever captured by the enemy, Finn's focus would immediately shift away from any battle to find a way to ensure her safety. He couldn't afford the distraction; his people couldn't afford the distraction. As much as it pained him to admit, they were all right. Arienette had to go.
"How? How do I make her safe?" Finn asked.
"Samhain," Bartley said. "The veil between worlds is at its thinnest on that day. It allows beings to pass from one realm to another. Upon the hill behind the castle is said to be a zenith of worlds. At midnight on Samhain, our magic can be used to open a route to any other realm. She will be safe there, Prince Finn, I promise you."
Finn sagged into his seat, defeated and hurt, "How am I to exist without her? Arienette is everything to me."
"Doubtless she will feel the same way," Bartley murmured. "There is a way to spare her the pain. When we're separated from our mate is torture, that's quite true, but you possess an ability to ease her pain."
"You mean you want me to tamper with her memories," Finn grimaced.
"Aye Prince Finn," Bartley nodded. "Just a bit, so she doesn't have to dwell. You can reverse it when she returns."
Finn sighed, the last thing he wanted to do was go meddling with such a delicate thing like memories, especially when they belonged to his mate. If it would save her the pain of separation, however, he'd do what had to be done.
"Thank you for your counsel Bartley, I appreciate it very much," Finn said. "Could I ask a favor of you?"
"Anything, my prince."
"Show me how to ensure she gets to her destination safely." Finn said.
"As you wish."
Arienette had never seen Finn quite so agitated. Things in the realm had felt tense for the past several weeks, like everyone was holding their breath, waiting for the storm to come. Finn had sat at the head of the table in the war room beside his father for hours on end, planning and strategizing, skipping meals and sweet moments with her. Arienette understood; Finn would one day command his father's armies and rule the kingdom but she wouldn't pretend she didn't miss his company.
When he returned to her this evening it was long past sundown and the moon was shining her soft light through the great stone window. Finn paced for what seemed like hours as Arienette watched him, sitting on the end of their bed, warming a cup of spiced tea between her hands.
"You'll wear through the stone if you don't stop that," she said. "Come relax, Finn. You've had many long days."
Finn sighed as he moved toward Arienette, easing down on the bed next to her. She smiled at him, brushed her fingers over his cheek and kissed his shoulder.
"The war has taken much from you and it hasn't yet begun," Arienette said. "I miss you my prince."
"And I miss you, love," Finn murmured, inhaling deeply through his nose. "There's something I must ask of you... it gives me no joy to do so, but it must be done."
"You can ask me anything Finn, you know that," Arienette said. "What's on your mind?"
Finn began to speak, but a heavy knock on the wooden door interrupted his words. Cringing, Finn rose again and went to the door. Arienette followed, standing close at his side as the open door revealed Finn's closest friend Sami, smiling behind his soft red beard at them.
"Forgive me for interrupting, but I'm afraid I need to borrow our prince," Sami frowned. "You've been summoned to the war room."
"But I've just got here," Finn complained. "Is it urgent?"
Sami chewed the corner of his lip, "I don't have that answer, Finn. I can probably buy you...maybe ten minutes though at most. I wish there was more I could do, my friend."
Finn sighed and scrubbed a hand over his short hair, "It's fine, thank you Sami. I'll be there as soon as I can."
Sami nodded, leaving with an apologetic smile and a short bow at Arienette. Finn pushed the door shut, turning to her with a frown. She smiled, cupped his chin in her hands, and kissed the tip of his nose.
"Go. They need you."
"I haven't seen you in days," Finn said. "It's here I belong."
Arienette smiled, "I know my love and you will be soon. Go; don't keep your father waiting. But Finn... what is it you wanted to ask me?"
Halfway out the door, Finn hesitated but turned to her, "Nothing to worry about right now. It can wait."
"Of course," Finn bluffed, "We'll talk about it when I return."
Arienette's smile was the sweetest thing Finn had ever seen. It twisted his insides to have to lie to her, even if it was just a small one.