A Song of One Bed Two Enemies

A Song of One Bed Two Enemies

Jun 16, 2022

A Song of One Bed Two Enemies

Story One of the Alex James Hates This Collection

By Daniel Quigley

It had been a disaster. Kel had known it would be. Still he had held out hope; he was a disgusting optimist like that. The fact that his father decided that he should be the one to solve the generations old strife between Siskiyuhn and Bellemor’e should have been his first sign of impending catastrophic failure. The fact that Siskiyuhn in return chose Reverence of the Icehound as his counterpart should have been the second. The third sign was impossible to miss and occurred when she shot her firestick at him, and the peace negotiations came to an abrupt and rather fiery halt. 

Kel sighed and cast his gaze about the sparse inn room. Its solitary bed with his meager belongings sat slightly askew in the center. Only about half the glyph lights worked, and the room rattled with frequent booms of thunder. He pulled up the single chair to the simple desk, pulled out his Qwennar deck, and began to deal himself what would no doubt be a losing game. 

A knock sounded at the door. It was probably Guy coming back to rub in what a poor job he had done negotiating the peace talks. For the person that was supposed to be his bodyguard, and whose life literally depended on Kel staying alive, Guy was shite at his job. Most of the time anyways. He was absolutely the last person Kel wanted to see right at the moment. 

Kel groaned and opened the door. “Listen Guy, I’ve had a long day and—oh, oh fuck.”

His stomach dropped. He needed to revise his previous thought; there was someone he did in fact want to see even less than Guy. She wore her snow white Siskiyouhn hair in a traditional braid. As was also traditional of a Thermomancer, she wore next to nothing—benefits of being able to magically regulate your body temperature—and if your eyes strayed, or you commented on this fact, you were liable to end up on fire. 

“What are you doing in my room, Baylander?” Reverence of the Icehound growled. 

“Hells above, what?”

Reverence fished a room key out of her satchel. She held it in front of Kel. It, of course, read Room 303. He fished out his own room key, and saw that it too had the same number on it. 

“Where is the Dead Man?”Reverence asked nonchalantly

“You mean Guy?”

She snorted and cocked her head to the side. “How many other Undead abominations do you travel with?”

“He’s uh—honestly I have no idea where he is. He left after you nearly set me on fire.” 

“Hah. You should have seen the look on your face.” 

Reverence shoved past him, dropped her satchel, pushed his belongings rudely off of the bed, and turned expectantly towards him. Her hand hovering uncomfortably close to her firestick. 

“Nopppppe, nope nope nope,” Kel said as he dashed from the room. 

###

Kel stood in front of the Innkeeper with his jaw agape. “What do you mean there are no other rooms left? The delegations from Siskiyouhn and Bellemor’e are literally the only people staying in this establishment.” 

The innkeeper stroked his mustache—which Kel had to admit was a very fine mustache—and shrugged his shoulders. “All them rooms has been bought up but that one fella.” 

“He was wearing a mask wasn’t he?”

“Mighty peculiar that.” 

Kel groaned as reality set in. Guy did this. Because of course he did. He wore a mask around in public, since the general population generally did not find his undead visage to be aesthetically pleasing. “Can I just take my stuff and stay at another inn?”

“‘Fraid not friend, there's a Terrastorm goin’ on out there, mighty deadly one too, and this here is the only inn stout enough to still open.” 

“Fine, fine, this is fine. If I can just get another bed, cot, or bedroll.”

The Innkeeper twirled his immaculate mustache again. “Real sorry about that friend, but well, those too have all been rented out.” 

“Same person?”

“Yessur. In fact, your room normally has three beds in it. He paid extra to remove them.” 

“Guy is quite literally going to get me killed.” 

“Well, y’all did sign that there paper not to hold us liable for any injury that could befall your person.”

“If I become a ghost, I will absolutely haunt this place.” 

“I encourage it. We could use the bump in tourism, I reckon.”

Kel growled something between a curse and a threat that was far too quiet for the Innkeeper to hear, and stomped upstairs. 

###

Kel returned to an open door and a scowling Reverence hovering over his Qwennar deck. She didn’t even bother to turn and look at him as she spoke over her shoulder. 

“You are going to lose this game Baylander.” 

Kel ran a hand through his messy black hair, the blue tips he inherited from his mother coming in more vibrantly now that he had sworn off cutting it. “Yeah, well, I lose almost every game. I have a shite deck and even the masters of the game lose more than they win.” 

Reverence snorted. “Psh, of course a soft skinned Baylander would approach the game with this attitude. This is the reason your people are not ready to face the old gods. Pathetic.” 

Anger roiled up inside of Kel threatening to burst through his carefully constructed fortifications. He had told himself he wouldn’t let her goad him, not again, he wouldn’t give her that fucking satisifaction.

“What is it going to take to get you to leave my room, Rev?” 

She turned and stretched languidly as she strode over to the bed and fell on it, being sure to take up as much space as humanly possible. 

“You mean my room?” She said as she dangled her key in the air, a predatory grin spreading across her face. “You can fight me for it.”

“Hah! We both know I can’t. You proved that point repeatedly and resoundingly during the lovely time we spent together in The Wilds.” 

“See, see your problem Baylander. You quit before you even start. Pathetic.” 

Kel turned on her, his fists balling up, his wiry arms shaking as he strode over to the bedside.

“As I recall it was you, who destroyed our only chance to fight back against Ashland.”

Reverence sighed apathetically. “Siskiyuhn has always stayed neutral. It has been our way since Yosephendra of the Second Sun first set foot upon our mountain.” 

“They are trying to bring the Old Gods to our world. Your people cannot sit idly by.”

Reverence merely yawned. “Your people took our Glyph network. We will not work with you.” 

Kel pinched his eyes, a headache bubbling to the surface behind his eyes. “So what? You’ll just let them do this? Just let it happen?”

“No. But what we do is of no concern to you or your people.” 

Kel threw his hands up in exasperation. “Just what in the hells above is it with you, huh? Just what have I done to make you hate me so much?”

“You killed my hound.” 

“You know I didn’t have a choice. I was marked by the Earth Mother. It would have killed me first.” 

“You destroyed my family's ancestral blade.” Reverence continued, checking marks off on her fingers.

“Technically Guy did that. Also we were fighting a literal god.”

“Even so. He is your zombie. Therefore you are at fault.”

“I mean not really he kinda… you know what, no, that’s not the point.”

“You are nothing but a tool for your father and the Enclave. They use you, and you let them.”

“I am trying to save our damn people!” Kel said in exasperation. 

Reverence’s voice turned to ice. “You take no responsibility, even after all we saw, after all we did, you refuse to fight. Sure they trot you out for events, and political theater. What have you done these last few months, Keliander? Hm? You call out our people for not entering your little war? Under what stone have you been hiding? Go back to playing your game and being the pathetic sack of soft skin you are.” 

Kel’s knuckles popped. Veins began to stand out on his forearms. His voice came in a growl he hardly recognized. “Call me pathetic one more fucking time.” 

Reverence shot to her feet, her predatory smile stretching wider. “You. Are. Pathetic.” 

She gave him a little shove. Kel stumbled backwards. Still the anger continued to course through him unabated. “Your people already had one traitor on their council. Are you so sure there aren’t others? By the King in the Mist, Rev, look past your fucking nose for one second, can’t you see we’re on the same damn side?” 

A low sound akin to a spearcat escaped from Reverence’s lips. That was the only warning that Kel had that she was about to strike. Her fist connected solidly with the side of his face. For an instant his vision blurred. His jaw exploded with pain. He rolled his shoulders with the punch as Guy had taught him. He blocked the next blow, and the one after that. Kel waited for his opening. Reverence shifted her weight back ever so slightly, and Kel dove for her waist. 

They crashed into the lonesome bed, tumbling, sprawling, teeth gnashing. Her elbow smashed into his face, her knee striking uncomfortably close to his groin. He managed to spin beneath her, gain leverage, and haul her above him. He slammed her down onto the bed. 

Her foot caught him in the chest, and he fell off the bed. She gave him no time to recover. Again she was on him, now they fought desperately on the floor, her body slick with sweat, making it impossible for him to get a hold. They rolled again, and again, she slipped a shoulder lock and snaked her way behind him. Kel’s muscle’s burned with the exertion, his hands trembled as he fought with everything he had to keep her arms from wrapping around his throat. 

“You are pathetic,” she whispered into his ear. 

Something inside Kel snapped, with a roar he twisted out of her hold and slammed her arms to the ground, pinning her in place. “For once in your life, stop fighting me and fucking listen!”

Reverence blinked once, as if suddenly realizing what had happened. “It appears you haven’t been idle after all, Baylander.” 

Seeing how she appeared to be no longer trying to kill him, Kel released his grip, his breaths coming in ragged gulps. “No. I haven’t. If you had just been willing to listen I—”

“Take off your shirt.”

“W–what?”

Her smile was a feral savage thing as she wrapped her legs around his waist locking him into place. Kel suddenly became very aware of just how close her body was to his, and how little fabric lay between them. 

“This is the man I met in The Wilds,” she said in a throaty whisper. “Not the sad little bureaucrat from earlier.” Her hands were on his back, ripping the shirt off of him in one smooth motion. “This is someone worthy of fighting the gods.” 

“H-hold on Rev, I—” But Kel never got a chance to finish that thought. 

Her hands were in his hair, her lips on his, heat pulsed from her body in heady waves. He felt his cheeks flush as a moan escaped his lips. Her glacial blue eyes once again met his, as she gently pushed him back. She stood with liquid grace and he rose with her. Her eyes were alight with something that Kel had to assume was lust. It was not a gaze he was used to. 

Her body seemed to glisten, the tight wraps that covered her chest and waist, accentuated every contour and curve of her body. She pressed herself against him.

“Your pants Baylander, remove them.”

Kel fumbled with his belt, his hands nervous, and clumsy. Then his pants were on the floor, and he was on the bed, and she was standing over him, a wicked grin on her face. She leaned in close, the fabric lifting higher. He closed his eyes and inhaled her scent. A smell like cinnamon, sweat, fresh rain, and smoke. 

Smoke? Kel’s eyes shot open. The bed was on fire. Quite literally. He jolted to his feet, slapping at the parts of his underwear that were smoking. He may have let out a very manly  and in no way high pitched EEEP as well. 

Reverence was cackling, rolling on the ground, her Thermomancers bracers alight as the fire grew to a crescendo, consuming the lone bed. With a snap of her fingers she snuffed the fire, leaving only a pile of ashes in her wake. 

“Honest Earth, Rev, what in the fuck is wrong with you?!” Kel shouted as he backed himself into a corner of the room. It was hard to maintain a menacing fighting position when you were both coming down from arousal, and primordial terror roared through your body. 

“You should have seen your face, Baylander.” Reverence wiped a tear from her eye. 

“I hate you, you know that?”

“I know,” Reverence said with a chuckle. 

“What in the hells above was the point of all that?”

With a satisfied sigh, she straightened and tossed him a robe from gods only know where. “Sometimes Baylander, you must burn a thing down before a new alliance can be formed.”

“So you seduced me, and then nearly set me on fire. Again. For what? A metaphor?”

Reverence shrugged.

“The fuck is wrong with you?” 

“Come Baylander.” Reverence strode to the desk. “Let's go play a new hand of Qwennar. Perhaps if we combine our decks, we will find new results, neh?”

Kel groaned, ran his fingers through his hair once more, and walked to the table. 





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