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Old 05-11-2006, 04:58 PM   #1
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Heartland Chapter 2

Here's the next part of the fic. If you like it, please leave a comment, it would be lovely to hear what you think.

Some language in this chapter!



Chapter 2

Edge blinked at the short, stocky man who stood in front of the bar, watching Edge intently.

“Bono… I didn’t really think I’d see you again.”

Bono, dressed entirely in black and with hair pulled back in a ponytail, gave Edge a smile. “You even remembered my name. I’m flattered.”

Edge laughed, a little apprehensively. He hadn’t seen Bono in months and months, the last time being just before the town they and their friends were staying in had been invaded and burned to the ground. Edge had only had time to grab what belongings he could and help to get women and children out of the way. Bono had been doing the same thing, but Edge had lost sight of him in the melee and they had been forced to go their separate ways. Edge also missed a couple of other close friends, and he had no idea where they were, either.

The memory of that horrible day suddenly came screaming back to Edge in a blur of smell and sound, and he couldn’t resist the shudder that skidded down his spine.

“Edge? You okay?” Ever insightful, Bono was right by his side behind the bar, watching him with eyes of the deepest concern.

Edge nodded, finally pouring himself more alcohol, ignoring the fact his hand was shaking slightly. He certainly needed a drink now. “Never thought I’d see you again, to be honest,” he repeated, barely noticing how much he was pouring until Bono reached out a hand to gently stop the glass from overflowing.

Bono now laid the hand on Edge’s shoulder. “I’m sorry we parted so abruptly. I’ve missed your company, Edge. I’ve been travelling alone for a while now and you know me, I’m not one for the solitary life.”

“That’s true.” Despite himself, Edge managed a wry smile at the idea of Bono driving himself mad without someone to offload his theories and opinions onto. “Would you care for a drink?”

“Most kind of you,” Bono replied, going back around the other side of the bar where he accepted the generously-filled glass from Edge. “Cheers. Here’s to rediscovered friendships.”

Edge clinked his glass before taking a deep, long ingestion of mead, which seemed to invigorate his senses and strengthen his constitution, although he guessed that part of that was due to Bono’s presence. He really was glad to see Bono again and told him so when they’d both swallowed.

“The feeling’s mutual,” Bono replied with a swift smile that briefly lit up his unshaven features. Edge wondered just how long he’d been travelling. “I heard various rumours that you were here, or at least in the area, so I took a chance. To be honest, I’m on my way to the castle.”

“You are? What do you want there?” Edge couldn’t help frowning. People at the castle weren’t good news, after all. It had been the king’s doing that so many had lost homes and friends and even members of their families.

Bono seemed to note Edge’s concern. “Don’t worry, it’s not to do business. Well, not directly, anyway. I’m going to attend their ball tonight. It’s a big gathering of high-ranking aristocrats and nobility, you know the sort, and they’ll be requiring entertainment. I thought if I could get in and… ply my trade, I could find out what happened to Larry.”

Edge’s eyes widened as he leaned closer, feeling the need to whisper even though no one else was in the tavern. “Larry? Why?” Larry was another who hadn’t been heard of since the burning of the town and Edge had assumed there was no news. Apparently, he’d been wrong.

Bono drank some more mead. “I don’t know for certain, but I came across a couple of sources – separately – who stated that they’d seen Larry being taken off to the castle. This is a long time ago, we’re talking shortly after the village was destroyed. I’ve been unable to find any further information but I’m hoping I can do it myself. It’s worth a shot, isn’t it?”

The question was obviously rhetorical but Edge nodded anyway, feeling a lump in his throat at the idea of Larry, brave and strong, being kidnapped by the king and forced to… well, who knew what?

“I didn’t expect to see him again, either,” Edge admitted. “You always assume the worst.”

Bono nodded, too. “I know. I had no choice but to ignore my instincts to go and rescue him straight away. I was… I was busy for a while, you see.”

Edge badly wanted to ask what Bono had been busy doing, but the expression on his friend’s face told him now wasn’t the time. Instead, Edge offered Bono another drink and another idea.

“Well, if you’re going to sing, you’ll need a guitar to accompany you,” he said, letting a smile grace his lips.


***


Ella picked up the enormous, heavy basket of fruit and staggered under its weight as she tried to take it out of the kitchen. It was only when a rogue apple made its escape and bounced away across the flagged stone floor that she swore.

“Bloody fucking thing,” she muttered, finding it hard to watch her step as well as balance the weight. She wasn’t tall, and though she possessed curvy hips and thighs, they weren’t as advantageous as they should have been. Ever since arriving at the castle she’d been plagued by back problems and aches in her knees, and no amount of womanly shape could help when parts of her body began to nag away at her.

She’d almost reached the main door out to the corridor when she heard Larry shout behind her.

“Ella! What the hell are you doing?” The smack-smack of bare feet on cold stone and then he was beside her, arms folded, frown settling into its usual place on his brow. He looked as pissed off as only Larry could, and the predictability of his expression nearly made Ella laugh out loud.

“What does it look like? I’m taking this up to the hall, aren’t I?” She knew she was being awkward, but sometimes she got fed up of Larry smothering her. Before being imprisoned, Ella had been a very independent young woman and it didn’t really suit her to depend on others for help. Even if they were attractive Irishmen.

Larry made a tiny noise of frustration, like he usually did when she butted against him. “Ella… You’ll hurt yourself. For God’s sake let me take that and you can fetch that tray of glasses.”

“I am perfectly capable…” Ella began, but her words trailed off into the stuffy air as the basket slipped from her grasp and almost fell back on top of her but for Larry’s swift intervention.

“Told you so,” he retorted, hoisting the basket up into his arms and smirking infuriatingly at her. He strode off with barely a hint of exertion, his muscular arms taking most of the strain.

Ella stuck her tongue out at his back, but there was no malice in it. The things he did made her blood boil in more ways than one; it was difficult to stay angry with Larry when he was so masculine and tough while being gentle and protective.

But they were just friends, Ella reminded herself. More like brother and sister. So he’d told her on more than one occasion. And most of the time she felt the same way; after all, months had passed without him giving her as much as a sideways glance beyond his friendly hugs when she felt down.

Sighing, Ella forced herself to concentrate on the job at hand, namely transporting all this food and drink up to the mead-hall in time for the ball. She resented the way the rich got to stuff their faces when most days, she and Larry scraped by on the meagre meals they were given. Larry usually stole from the kitchens at night, which helped him to stay reasonably fit and healthy but it still wasn’t nearly enough.

Just then, Ella spotted one of the massive barrels of mead which sat on their ends in the corner of the kitchen. Unable to resist the mischievous grin that touched her lips, she tipped the barrel onto its side and started to roll it out of the door and up the long corridor, passing Larry on the way.

“Slowpoke!” she teased, laughing at his responding scowl which soon changed into reluctant laugher, echoing around the walls and in Ella’s ears.


***


While the preparations were going on down in the deep recesses of the castle and servants were dashing around like the proverbial headless chickens, Sophie was reclining in a typically-luxurious bath full of bubbles and rose petals. Surrounding her were candles and by her head sat a glass of red wine, her favourite. Since her chestnut hair had already been done, twisted around and tied up high on her head, she had nothing to worry about apart from her dress, and Marie had assured her it was ready and waiting. It was lovely to be able to lie back and have no problems. Sophie’s thoughts rarely extended to those less fortunate than she was, and right now was no exception.

“Oh, Marie,” she said, when the maid re-entered the bathroom to help Sophie out of the tub. “Is everything set up downstairs? Are the guests arriving yet?”

“Yes, ma’am, things are going perfectly and I’m sure I saw half a dozen arriving in a coach.” Marie took Sophie’s hands as the queen stood and stepped daintily out of the bath to be wrapped in a wonderfully soft towel.

“Wonderful! I’m really looking forward to tonight, you know. I can’t wait for all the dancing!” Caught up, Sophie let Marie dry her and lead her back out to the bedroom, where her red ballgown was laid out on the bed. Marie helped her into the dress and tied it at the back, tightly so that the corset emphasised Sophie’s delicate body. She was slim, but there was enough of her that she couldn’t be considered skinny or shapeless.

Just as she was ready, Harry walked in. He took one look at Sophie and kissed her, apparently unbothered about Marie’s presence. She had to push him away in the end and distracted him by asking about who had turned up.

“Yes, everyone’s here that should be. All in pairs, of course, except bloody Clayton. Just to piss me off. I’d rather not have invited him at all but you know…” He glanced at Marie. “Well, it wouldn’t have been polite. Anyway we can stick him in a corner and nobody will care.” He adjusted his gold-leaf pattern jacket, in which he looked very handsome; his ash-blond hair was loose, because Harry liked to do the opposite of everyone else and believed that tying it back made him seem too feminine. Sophie wasn’t fussed. She adored his slightly upturned nose and small grey eyes, features that Harry’s enemies loved to make fun of. It was his air of power which helped make the physical less important, and Sophie adored that, too.

Taking his arm, she allowed him to lead her down the long flight of stairs from their bedroom to the main landing, and then together they swept down the staircase which led directly into the mead-hall. Sophie could hear the chattering and laughter as they approached and her pulse sped up with excitement. She would receive compliments and she’d get to dance and perhaps even sing… For one night she could do exactly as she pleased.

Harry and Sophie entered the hall to rapturous applause and took their seats at the head of the table.


TBC!
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Old 05-12-2006, 08:22 PM   #2
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I love this story
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Old 05-13-2006, 12:45 PM   #3
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"Edge managed a wry smile at the idea of Bono driving himself mad without someone to offload his theories and opinions onto" , that really describes him!

Hooray, a historical story! Now kings will rule and the poor will toil....but I hope our boys will win!

I only had to disagree at this particular point : "Anyway we can stick him in a corner and nobody will care." --- that is just impossible, not to care about THAT man ....

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Old 04-15-2009, 10:55 AM   #4
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Whatever happened to the rest of this story?

This is awesome! You should finish it!
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Old 04-15-2009, 03:24 PM   #5
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Great story!!

P.S. Where can i find chapter 1?
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Old 04-15-2009, 06:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue kite View Post
Great story!!

P.S. Where can i find chapter 1?
Just use the search feature... type in 'Heartland', and tell it to only look in the fanfiction sub-forum.
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Old 04-16-2009, 05:32 AM   #7
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Thank you so much
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Old 04-16-2009, 04:48 PM   #8
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i likeit.
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Old 05-04-2009, 04:40 AM   #9
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Liked it a lot! Great stuff hope to see more soon!
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Old 05-04-2009, 12:26 PM   #10
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More!
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