Sort a stole the idea from a movie I just recently saw called Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I'm changing the scene quite a bit from the movie, but it was the inspiration for this. Pretend that this little scene took place somewhere in Court Duel, and that Vidanric enjoys a good soak every once in a while without the protection of his waterproof cloak. Enjoy.

Cassie


Meliara couldn't sleep. Too many thoughts crowded her mind, fighting for attention: Bran and Nee's coming party, Russav's continual flirtations, Elenet's curious silence, Tamara's recent plot against her. Most of all, Meliara thought about her Unknown, and how, as of late, she would wake in the morning with hopes of finding the familiar unmarked envelope on her table. She couldn't remember when she'd been so excited about receiving a simple letter. But the Unknown's letters are more than that, she argued with herself, they were a courtship, one with pen and words rather than talk and touch.

Letting out something that sounded between a sigh and an irritated grunt Meliara swung her feet over the side of her bed and stood. The room swayed for a moment as her equilibrium returned. Walking over to the window, Meliara felt confined in her room. Her nightgown seemed to cling from sweat, her hair heavy as it cascaded down the back of her neck. Her legs felt weak from lack of exercise, something her life had lacked since she had arrived at Atharanel.

Meliara needed to escape.

Admiring the beauty of the moon that hung high in the night sky, her gaze traveled steadily downward until it rested on a second moon, one reflected in the water of the pool in the private courtyard that her window looked out on to.

A small smile eased across her features as she turned away from the window, and to her dresser. Pulling out new underclothes, and a tunic, Meliara had changed out of her sticky nightgown and into the fresh clothes in a moment.

Gently pushing her door open, she slipped into the hallway as the door snicked shut behind her. Keeping to the edges of the dark corridor, Meliara made her way down to the courtyard.

Meliara welcomed the cold night's breeze as it washed over her body, slowly wiping away her troubled thoughts. Walking out onto the dirt path that led to the pool, she looked up at the dark sky: no stars shined through the thick clouds that hung high overhead. That meant rain. Meliara hoped she would not get caught in a downpour. Continuing farther down the path, her bare feet not making a sound in the night, she came to a thicket of neatly trimmed trees. She knew that the greenery was meant to keep passersby away, but Meliara knew what she wanted to do.

Slipping in between the trees, along a path a gardener must have used while trimming the shrubbery, Meliara was careful not to snag her tunic on the stray branches. After a few more moments of maneuvering, Meliara came at last to the private area that she had looked down on to from her window on so many times. Out of the thicket, she noticed only a few more trees and bushes scattered the landscape around the pool.

She walked over to the pool, loving how the surface looked liked glass, a delightful shiver running through her body. Experience told Meliara that the water would be cold. Looking around to make sure no one had seen her stealthy –or at least she had tried to make it so–exit, she slipped off the top half of her tunic first. Her skin prickled with bumps along her bare arms, her undershirt failing to keep any of the cold out.

Shaking off the chill, Meliara stepped up to the water's edge, stepping first one foot, then the other into the water. Her feet and legs immediately protested the cold temperature as she walked farther in, and stopped when the water was at her waist. Pulling off her leggings, she felt a shiver course through her entire body; the thin undershorts now all that was keeping her legs warm. She threw the leggings back on the shore, joining her still dry tunic.

It took only a few moments for Meliara to adjust to the temperature of the water–she had been in colder when there were downpours and she'd gotten lost in her mountains back home in Tlanth. Almost immediately she felt a twinge in her heart, remembering her home. She'd lived in Tlanth all her life, and it was all she'd ever known.

Wading deeper into the water, Meliara ducked down and submerged herself completely in the pool, letting its gentle currents wash away the tension her body held. Everything was simple when she was in water. Time moved slower, and life just seemed simpler. Her life had been simpler before she'd come to Court, before she'd stumbled into that cursed trap and into the clutches of the enemy. Her life had been simpler before she'd met Vidanric.

Rising to the water's surface Meliara sputtered water out of her mouth and ran her hands over her thick hair, now weightless in the water. Her feet had numbed in the water, her fingertips feeling slightly fuzzy from the temperature. Meliara welcomed the dullness that she felt in her body, welcomed the calm that passed through her. Treaties signed by feuding countries supposedly offered peace to both lands. A harpist's delicate notes meant to sooth the mind and body. But for Meliara, letting the water encompass and rock her in gentle waves was peace to her. This moment was peace.

Meliara moved to float on her back, fanning out her arms for balance as she moved them in a fluid motion, gently guiding her body in the water. Water spilled into her ears, taking away her acute sense of balance. She let her eyes close against the gentle whispering the water made as it washed up against her skin. The air was so quiet she could hear the steady beat of her heat in her ears, a natural rhythm to her.

All form of thought fled her mind and body as she floated in the water. She forgot about the neglect she'd been feeling because of all the time Bran had been spending with Nee. She forgot Russav's flirtations. She forgot the awkward silences she'd feel when around Elenet. Tamara's spite for her faded into the water around her. The fluttering feeling that formed in her stomach whenever she'd look at Vidanric sparring, riding into the courtyard on his mount, or his still undefined grey eyes, washed into the currents that surrounded her body.

The feeling of a warm touch surrounding her arms drew Meliara out of her calm. A familiar smell reached her nose, one that reminded her of her horses–she liked the smell. She wondered how she could feel such a warmth when she the rest of her body felt numb from the temperature of her water –but she kept her eyes closed, wondering if she had fallen asleep and was having a strange dream. Hoping her body would not sink, she felt her muscles relax from the warm touch that now wrapped slowly around both her arms. Then it withdrew.

Meliara was only let wondering for a moment where the warmth had gone when she again felt the touch on her temples and then realized that the warmth was coming from gentle hands, and fingertips. A very strange dream, Meliara thought as her vision dimmed slightly, even with her eyes closed. She drew a hand to her eyes and met a soft handkerchief: someone had blindfolded her in her dream. But why? She asked herself lazily. Because they don't want me to see them, she guessed.

Meliara's thoughts fled from her again as she felt the warm touch again on her stomach. She reached with one of her arms and collided with the hand–too large to belong to belong to a woman. A man, then, she thought just as lazily as before. Meliara found her fingers interlocking with the stranger's, and closed around the knuckles. Her lower body dipped into the water as it refused to remain afloat any longer. She was scared she was going to drown because she still couldn't see, but felt a strong arm wrap around her waist for support.

He must be tall enough to touch the bottom, Meliara thought incoherently as she felt her body press lightly against the owner of the arm's. She didn't struggle against the embrace, but rather welcomed the new found warmth she felt against her own body. Thought finally did come together in her mind again with a crashing sense of embarrassment. She was indecent! But another thought overrode her alarm. Why did it matter? It was a dream. Her body felt weightless in the water as the arm continued to hold her, feeling the other arm slide around her waist.

A very strange dream, she thought.


The second half is coming, but I ended up writing too much to the point where I had to split it up. If you would like to see more, more fluff with Meliara and her mystery man please leave a review! I promise it gets better.