Moon beams shown through the trees. The light created shadows unlike any man nor beasts nor mythical creatures Astarte had ever seen before. Standing and watching the dancing streams of light, the impendinding darkenss all around felt like the weight of ten hundred men. Astarte moved quickly to the familiar medow. As she broke into a fast pasted walk, she gathered her dress up in her hands, not forgetting in this momentary glimpse of freedom that if her escape became known, she would be punished. Moving through the trees, darkness began to subside to a peaceful white glow of the full moon that night. As she stepped from the trees into the openess, the moonlight met her with a familiar welcome. This place had been her own safe haven throughout the years of her life. Never had she met another soul in this place, and tonight of all nights she craved that solitary confinment it provided. Her heart pounded and her bodess felt tigheter now under her heavy breathing from running the last part of the way from her home to where she stood now. As she strgggled to lossen the ties on her boddess, trying to finally break free, her mind raced through the events proceeding up to her necessary escape this evening. Home, family, and reality seemed eons away and yet in this place, she could not help but feel that his eyes were still upon her.
She had thought that this night started like most other events she had attended in her life. Although Astarte was no princess she had been considered a birth of a privledged home, and had been raised to behave in a way that represented her parents and station in life. As much as her mother had tried in her younger years to rein in the energy and spirit, Astarte had always had a side that did not comform to the ways of the world. Dresses were too heavy, her hair took too much work to keep up, and it all seemed for not. As she finally loosened her boddess she felt an ease to her suffereing, finally being able to take a full breath of air for the first time in what felt like weeks, she removed the pins from her long dark hair and lay her self down becoming one with the earth and the grassy world. Laying back looking at the stars she was reminded, as always, of how small she was compared to what the sky above. Her father had always understood her better than anyone else and, although he should not have, he had secretly hired her tutors her whole life. She was far more eduated that her peers, and could both read and write, understood the stars, and even could discuss philosophy like the boys she met at events like the one tonight.
Tonight however had been differernt. She had gone to this event with her dearest friend Samantha to meet her bethrothed; however, Astarte had not expected to meet someone new. New people did not necessarily come to events with out some sort of warning before hand. This man had been different from all the rest. Every time she closed her eyes, she saw him watching her. Those blue eyes pierecing her outter deminer unnervered her. It was as if, his eyes could see through her rouse, and knew her one true dirty secret, her education, why she was always late to sewing with the other ladies her own age, and why she always seemed so bored with their conversations. Being educated amongst her peers had always caused problems, and she had always had a difficult time choosing friends. Astate did not fool herself into thinking that she was the only one who had secrets, she simply had herself convinced that hers were bigger and in essence posed a greater threat to everyone around her.
She forced herself to close her eyes, to face him in her thoughts. Why was it that he had bothered her so much? She looked at those eyes in her mind for what seemed like years, as the minutes passed she found she was hooked. He acted like a lone wolf, with no need to comform to the social dignaties that she had become assustomed to all her life. He was not the man that her friends, if you want to call her peers that, would approve for her at all. His short stocky build made him more knightly and barbaic than the tall dark knights she had seen coming through the towns on their way to or from the Crusades. He made no mention of his time at war, but the scar on his face and his forearm were definitions of a war torn man. And yet, although some returned with the sickness, he seemed to be a whole and complete man despite what he must have seen in the war. He did not disucss his triumphs, he did not fawn over the women the way other men always did, he simply stood amongst them all and yet not attached to any.
She opened her eyes and stared at the stars. As she lay there, she evaluted where her family must think she ought to be in life, in comparison to where she actually was. It saddened her that she was unable to please them, though in her defense she had been bethrothed. She would have, if things had gone according to plan, been married by now and her parents and family would think better of her. However, her situation was what it was and that was that. Without much thought of if she rose, brushing herself off and began her journey back to her home again. With any luck like the many other times she had come to this place no one would be the wiser that she had gone, and instead of fretting about the possibility of being caught, she continued her thoughts about life and this new contemplation, a general curiosity about a man. She had not thought much of her first bethrothed, so her interest in her lone wolf was of unparralled interest to her. It entertained her that he would not be so easily allowed into her circle of peers but that in a way her parents would be thrilled.
The man Astarte had been betrothed to had gone off to war to fight in the Crusades. Although they had known each other and had talked on occasion he did not consult with her before disappearing to the East. She realized in this that she was still mad at him. She had no use for the Crusades, but kept her mouth shut when people spoke of things they did not know. Taking peoples homes, she thought, had never been a good way to make friends, and the things that the men were bringing back, books and art and knoweldge and culture, had always seemed like something that would be worth being allies for.
After deciding to leave for the Crusades, without discussion Sir Keith announced his departure the day before he was to leave, at a dinner with her family and his. Shocked and appauled it was all Astarte could do was to sit, shaking and seathing with anger, letting none of it across her ruby red lips. The touge lashing he deserved she decided would have to wait until they were husband and wife assuming he ever returned. Her hatred had burned for months, and when news of his death came it only stregthened her anger towards him, and she had not cried one tear for him. They were to be married but they surly had not been in love. Love, Astarte had decided, was for girls to read about in their story books, to be talked to about as children at bed time stories, but it was not something that was actually achievable and it certainly did not exsist in her world. She knew her feelings for her wolf were the same, not love for him but for love of the unknown, the secreteaive and the new. This is the first time in a long time Astarte had considered the concept of marriage again.
As she approached the estate and the hill leading up to the back doors she knew that there would no answers to her questions and that she would have till tomorrow before she would even begin to dream of seeing him again. She climbed the stair case to her bedroom, removed the lock and slid silently into her room. After removing the rest of her clothing, the soft sheets felt cool against her skin, and sleep came more quickly to her than had in many months.