SS Linda’s Homecoming (Religious Alpha #2)

The second story is more mature than the first.  Still a young adult wrote it, so take with that what you may.

Written more than a decade ago and barely edited since, I give you book 2 in Religious Alpha’s shorts. 

Genre: fantasy, adventure
[WIP: Religious Alpha] [Cat Hartliebe’s Books] [About Cat Hartliebe]

Are humans any better than any other animal?  They think highly of themselves, but when it comes to mating, it is still who is the most beautiful one or the stronger one or the highest one on the social ladder.  Linda was out of the world of wolves, but being back with humans was not the biggest love in her life.  As she says, “Out of one danger and into another.”

The trees no longer caressed Linda.  The animals no longer trusted her.  She was there to kill and the woods wanted no part of it.  The hunter, who turns out to be Kurt, brings Linda out of the woods.  She stays with him as the winter continues and then as spring comes around she was forced to return to her home where she finds her step-father dead.  It was her house now.  She enters it and as she does a young man, Darius, walks in behind her.  Linda notices him.  He is a very handsome man in an outfit made for kings and royals.  ‘He must be noble.’

He bows to her.  “Evening, miss.  May I ask who owns this place?  As in my records, I am to be married to a lady of this household.  She may be about your age, a bit younger.”

Linda curtsies.  “I am the owner as of now.  Since, my parents have died and I have no brothers or sisters to speak of.”

“Are you the fair and flawless Linda?  The one who my father commented on as a child?  Who my mother offered her only son to?  You are but in rags.”

Linda nods.  “My story is a long one if you wish to hear it.”

The young man nods and sits in a chair.  “Speak away, since I am only here for one thing and if you do not explain your condition I shall leave without bringing you back with me.”

Linda nods.  “My father had died many years ago, so my mother went and found a new husband to make life easier on me.  She died last summer…” As she spoke of the dreadful past few weeks, Darius felt sorry for her.

Darius nods.  “Well, I think I shall give you another chance, I will return tomorrow, giving you time to tidy up and eat.  If you are the beauty my parents speak so highly of then you shall return with me.  If not, you will be dead.  Choices, choices…” He leaves.

Linda relaxes a bit.  “Out of one danger and into another.”  She goes and looks at her clothing in her closet.  All of it was ruined.  She cursed.

A semi old lady finds her in her room.  “Hello, missus.  Linda, isn’t it?  Come now, many people came in here and stole what they could find, but I have the only key to your mother’s chest.  It’s the only thing left after the winter and the thievery.”  She walks over to Linda.

Linda smiles at her.  “Hello, Madame Dreame.”  She hugs her old nanny.  “I guess it is time to see what my mother left inside of my chest.”  She walks with her nanny up the stairs to the attic.  Madame Dreame walks over and takes the key out of her pocket.  She tosses the sheet and the chest shines with the gold ornaments and designs.

Madame Dreame unlocks the chest.  “Miss, your wedding dress, shoes, and the like. Your baby toys, black roses, and other such odd things.  Here is your locket.  This is the document of your engagement…”

“Wait… what?  Document of my engagement?  With Darius?”  Linda takes the paper.

Madame Dreame nods and looks back at her holding a beautiful purple dress.  “Yes, the prince of DeVino, the only heir to the throne too.  I hear he was just here.  What did he say?”

Linda sighs and sits down on an over turned bucket.  “Yes, he listened to my trouble.  He told me either I would become beautiful and elegant or be killed.”

Madame Dreame picks up the purple dress and puts it up to Linda.  “Come now.  You fit in your mother’s clothes.  There is even a beautiful net in here for your hair.  The shoes for your wedding or we could get your boots from the shop.  Also, your locket.  Come now, let me help you with a bath to clean you of the dirt of the winter.”  She picks up a few things from the chest and walks downstairs to the bath.  Linda sighs and follows her nanny.

After the bath, Linda got dressed in her purple gown.  Madame Dreame fixes her hair so the net fit her perfectly.  She looks at herself in a broken full-length mirror.  Her image was good.  Linda looks around.  “Madame Dreame, why do I have to marry some guy who just because of the way I looked at the moment he first saw me rather pretend he never saw me.  He only wants me because I was said to be the most beautiful maiden in all the land.  He does not care that I just survived life out in the wild.  I don’t know if life with him is better than death.”

Madame Dreame steps away from Linda.  “Now, you should not think that way of your husband to be.  Come now.”  She smoothes the dress down.  “You are beautiful and you will be married to Darius soon.  I shall make you some food and then you must take those clothes off.  I want you to act like you should in front of royalty during dinner.  After you take the clothes and net off, I want you to sleep.  I think I can get your bed made.  Or you can and I shall fix the hall so you can meet and greet your guest well enough.  I will wake you up early enough to ready before his visit.  Now come and fix the table so you may eat.  It is just you and I here so I have so much to accomplish.  Please, Linda.”  She motions Linda out of the room.

Linda sets the table.  She eats like a princess.  Madame Dreame takes care of the dishes.  Linda walks to the library and looks for a book to glance at for a little while.  She finds none, but finds the story her mother was writing in a desk drawer hiding spot.  Her mother told her she was not to read it until she read all the other books in the library and being it was the only one left, Linda had accomplished the task.  She glances through it.

It started:

To my darling little girl, Linda, she gave me reason for writing this book.

A lovely bride

I would have never thought I was a girl of wonder nor one of fear…

“Linda!”  Madame Dreame came into the library.  “There you are dear.  I fixed your bed; you should head to sleep.  Beforehand I wish you take what items left and put them in the bag by your bed.”  She nods to Linda.  “Hurry, girl.  The sun fell over an hour ago.”

Linda takes the book into her room.  She took the net out of her hair.  She braided it and slipped out of the dress.  Linda puts the book into the bag.  She looks through and puts a few things into the bag.  Lastly, the items from chest went in the bag except for the items she had to wear.  Linda slipped into her bed and falls asleep almost immediately.

Madame Dreame spent the most of the evening working on fixing the house up in a reasonable matter for the prince.  As day approached she began breakfast for Linda.  After fixing breakfast she wakes Linda.  She puts her back into her good clothes.  She fixes her hair.  Madame Dreame yawns and gives Linda a final look over.  She brings her to her food and gets her ready for the prince.  Linda sits in the hall waiting patiently for Darius.  Not to long after midday, Darius knocks on the door.

Madame Dreame opens the door for Darius.  “Come in, Prince Darius, she is waiting for you in the hall.”  She motions Darius over to greet Linda.

Linda stands and curtsies.  “Good afternoon, Darius.”  She smiles her entrancing smile.

Darius takes a step back.  “The most beautiful maiden in all the land just as father said.”  He bows to her.  “Good afternoon.  May we have tea and talk for a while?”  He turns to Madame Dreame.

Madame Dreame nods.  “Yes, if you go to the Sitting Room, I shall bring the tea in a minute.”  She bows out of the room.

Darius takes Linda’s arm and walks her into the Sitting Room.  He has her sit nicely in one sit and he sat across from her.  A coffee table is in between them.  He relaxes in the chair.  It was not in the best shape, but his attention was all toward Linda.  “So, you are the most beautiful maiden in all the land.”

Linda keeps for mind off of Darius.  “Is Madame Dreame not wonderful; she fixed so much up in such a little amount of time.”  She watches Madame Dreame enter.

Madame Dreame smiles and places the tray with tea on the coffee table.  “If I may miss, I would like to take a short nap.”

Linda smiles at her.  “You may, but I shall wake you before I leave.  I cannot allow you to miss saying good bye.”

Madame Dreame bows.  “If I may not go with you.”  She walks to the door.

Before Madame Dreame has a chance to leave, Linda stands and touches her shoulder.  “I am eternally in your dept.  I wish to speak to you before I leave, if I leave.”

Madame Dreame bows low and leaves the room.  She goes to take a nap in the Hall.

Linda sits down again.  “Darius?  What do you wish to know?”

Darius laughs.  “Such a good servant.  Ahh, I remember days not too long ago that I cared.  Now, since I have my kingdom to run, my bride to marry, and another country to destroy, I have too much on my mind.”

Linda nods.  “Yes, of course.  So much for you to accomplish in your short term as king…  What do you wish of me?”

Darius leans forward and rubs his chin.  He looks at Linda questioningly.  “First the wedding, my mother has everything already set.  We just needed the bride, which I came personally to get.  Then you will have my sons.  I will not accept any daughters from you, as they will not be my children.  Any daughters will be given away, engaged, or thrown out, you understand?”

Linda curses in the back of her mind.  ‘They are my children, my daughters and I cannot stand this.’  “No.”

Darius was talking about some far off custom he was planning on bringing back.  He was not expecting an answer from someone below him.  “What do you mean, no?  You are not to question a majesty’s orders.”

Linda stands.  She walks over and picks up a sword.  “There are no guards here.  No one in my house other than you, Madame Dreame, and me.  No one will wonder about a scream coming from a ghost filled house.  I say that my children will be done with as I please.  You may control the country, have your way with me in bed, but you may not control my children.”  The sword is aimed at Darius, but Linda is finding it heavier than she expected.

Darius’ jaw drops.  “That is not how my kingdom will be run.”

Linda steps closer to Darius.  “Fine, I shall compromise.  You may have the oldest son, no more.  I shall take care of all the others.  I shall use the money endowed to them by their name as your and my child, and I shall raise them.  Do you wish to die for your cause?”

Darius slinks back in his chair.  He was never one to fight.  He always had guards and soldiers backing his every move, but they asked for the day off.  They said they would return to bring him back to the castle after his meeting.  He never thought the young maiden was without many servants and guards, and he never would have thought she would attack him.  ‘Damnit.’  “Alright, I will allow you rein over the children nothing else.  I shall have the oldest under my wing at all times.  Is it a deal?  Shall you return with me and be my queen?”

Linda nods.  She drops the heavy sword.  She refuses to caress her muscles which she pushed beyond their limit.  “Okay.  You may take me away then.  Do with me what you will.  And you shall only deal with the oldest child all the rest are mine.”  She takes some tea and pulls a cup for each of them.  “Tea?”

Darius nods.  “Thank you.”  They finish their tea in silence.

After tea, Darius got his guards and soldiers rounded up and waited for Linda to finish speaking with Madame Dreame.

Linda wakes Madame Dreame up.  “Madame Dreame, I must speak with you.  I fear Darius will force me to give many children and yet force me to flee from him due to some wild anger or what not.”

Madame Dreame awakes and watches Linda.  “My dear child, why?”

“It may have been something I said.  Please, Madame Dreame, keep this house for me.  If I should ever need to flee Darius I would like it if I had someplace to go.”  Linda looks around distressed.

Madame Dreame sighs.  “What if I bring my family and I live here.  Then if you ever needed to return I could call you cousin and you could share my house.  Write me letters of your children; so I may know their names and if you ever were to send them off send them here to meet me first.  Please, Linda, as I shall call you now, send good words to me, but if evil prevails send that too.  Do not be discouraged by the prince.  He is said to be a good man with right judgment.”

Linda nods and smiles at her old nanny.  “You shall be Madame Beauix.  If I should ever need you I shall send word right away.  Please take care of my home and within basement under an old box is a secret floorboard entrance.  Within the secret room lies the deed to this house.  Keep it safe and stay well.”  She kisses both of her old nanny’s cheeks and leaves with Darius to the castle.

Madame Beauix sighs as she watches Linda go.  “I hope for the best.  Now I must talk with my husband about our “good fortune” and our “new” name.”  She rushes off to her old home.

Darius weds and beds Linda that night.  As Linda recovers from her pain, Darius issues forth a notice to find a good mistress, one with more experience than his wife.  Within the year, Linda had her first child, a beautiful baby girl.  Linda named her child Keitha.

[WIP: Religious Alpha] [Cat Hartliebe’s Books] [About Cat Hartliebe]

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